INTERNATIONAL

Iran and P5+1 Reached Historic Nuclear Deal
Iran, the P5+1 and the European Union (EU) on 2 April conceded on a framework agreement called as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) intended to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The agreement was reached at Lausanne’s Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Switzerland. The informal framework agreement will be used as the basis for evolving the final draft of JCPOA by 30 June 2015. These 6 world powers are collectively known as P5+1, or five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany.

Pakistan and Russia Agreed To Hold First Ever Joint Military Exercise
Pakistan and Russia have agreed to hold first-ever joint military exercises as part of their enhanced defence cooperation. In this regard, an agreement was reached between both nations during a meeting between Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif in Moscow on 16 April 2015.

China and Pakistan Signed An Agreement On CPEC
China and Pakistan on 21 April signed an agreement on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan worth 46 billion US dollars. The agreement was signed by China’s President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. As part of the agreement, China will provide up to 37 billion US dollar in investment for energy projects to generate 16400 MW of power. Concessional loans will cover nearly 10 billion US dollar of infrastructure projects.

Omar al-Bashir Re-elected As Sudan President
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has won Presidential re-election by securing 94 per cent of the vote on 27 April. With this win, Omar al-Bashir extends his 25-year rule. Omar faces war crimes charges and is wanted by the International Criminal Court. He is in power since 1989. In this election Omar’s National Congress Party (NCP) also won 323 of 426 parliamentary seats.


INDIA & WORLD

India Ranked 101 In Social Progress Index
India was placed at 101st place in the Social Progress Index (SPI) ratings that were released globally on 9 April 2015. The SPI, which gives data for 133 countries, is also an alternative to GDP. After Norway at the top of the rankings, came Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland.

India Elected To Four United Nations Agencies
India was elected to four important United Nations (UN) agencies on 8 April. These agencies are United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP), Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) and the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. India was elected to these bodies at the Coordination and Management Meeting (CMM) of UNECOSOC (the United Nations Economic and Social Council) held at the UN headquarters in New York, USA.

Canada To Supply Uranium To India For 5 Years
Canada on 15 April agreed to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to energy-hungry India from this year under a $254 million five-year deal to power Indian atomic reactors, four decades after bilateral cooperation in this sector was frozen over India’s nuclear programme. The agreement for uranium supply, which came two years after protracted negotiations following the 2013 civil nuclear deal between India and Canada, was signed after comprehensive talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper. Canada is the third country to supply uranium to India after Russia and Kazakhstan.

India Ranks 5th On Global E-Waste Monitor 2014 List
According to the ‘Global E-Waste Monitor 2014’compiled by United Nation(UN)’s think tank United Nations University (UNU), India is the fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment in 2014.India came in fifth, behind the US, China, Japan and Germany.


NATIONAL

PM Narendra Modi Launched India’s First National Air Quality Index
The National Air Quality Index (NAQI) was launched for the first time in India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 April 2015 primarily for assessing the quality of air in major urban centres across the country on a real-time basis. This National Air Quality Index will provide information on the quality of air in 10 major cities in the country on a real-time basis.The ten cities where the quality of air can be monitored are Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Union Government Notified NJAC 2014
The Union Government on 13 April 2015 notified the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 and the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014. The NJAC Act and 99th Amendment Act were notified in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Act. With this new law the collegium system to appoint members to the higher judiciary has come to an end. Now President will appoint judges in the Supreme Court (SC) and 24 High Courts (HCs) in consultation with the NJAC.

MHA renames Visa On Arrival Scheme To E-Tourist Visa
Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 14 April decided to rename Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorization (TVoA-ETA) scheme as e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme.

Rajya Sabha Passed Transgenders Rights Bill
The Rajya Sabha on 24 April passed a bill that seeks equal rights for the transgenders.“The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014” was introduced by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva. It was the first private member’s bill to be passed by the Upper House in 45 years. The last time the Lok Sabha passed a private member’s bill was in 1970. In the Rajya Sabha a private member’s bill was passed in 1969.

Railways Launches Mobile App for Paperless Ticketing of Unreserved Category
The Railway Ministry has launched ‘utsonmobile’, a mobile application for paperless unreserved tickets. The application service was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 22 April in New Delhi. This application will allow its passenger to buy a ticket on the move and to board the train with the ticket secured on his mobile phone in digital format, without any need for printing the ticket. Initially, it has been launched as a pilot project and cover 15 stations in Southern Railway. Later on it will be extended to entire country in phases.


STATES

Gujarat Launched Industrial Tourism To Showcase Development
Gujarat government has on 12 April launched industrial tourism package to promote its development by showcasing its major industrial installations which have earned global acclaim for state. It is a first of its kind initiative India, offered by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL) in collaboration with Ahmedabad based Akshar Travels Pvt Ltd. The tour package is called as Industrial Tour of Gujarat will cover some of the major industrial attractions of the state.

Indian Army Conducts Akraman–II Defense Exercise In Rajasthan
Indian Army on 26 April conducted a major exercise ‘Akraman-II’ in Rajasthan. The exercise was conducted by the Chetak Corps, a part of South Western Command based in Bhatinda, Punjab. The exercise aimed to test a new generation of weaponry and platforms which are employed in the desert region to provide ‘real time battle and situational awareness’ to its commanders.

Kerala Govt Launched Subodham Project To End Liquor Abuse
State Government of Kerala on 19 April 2015 launched Subodham project, to help people in the state to overcome addiction to liquor.The project was launched by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravishankar in Kochi.

BHEL commissioned 600 MW thermal Unit In Chhattisgarh
State-owned power equipment-maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) on 13 April commissioned a 600 MW thermal unit at Dhabra in Janjgir Champa District of Chhattisgarh for the Dainik Bhaskar Power Limited.This is the second unit of 2 × 600 MW power project, commissioned by BHEL. The first 600 MW Unit was commissioned in 2014.


CONFERENCES

5th SAARC Health Ministers Meeting Held In New Delhi
The 5th meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Health Ministers was held on 8 April 2015 in New Delhi. The meet ended with the adoption of Delhi Declaration on Public Health Challenges.The declaration focuses on issues common to member nations of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).


AWARDS & HONOURS

Subadhra Devi Named For 2015 International Achievement Award
Dr Subadhra Devi Rai, an Indian-origin Singaporean nurse, on 2 April 2015 was named for the 2015 International Achievement Award by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF) of the International Council of Nurses.

Adonis Won 2015 Kumaran Asan World Prize For Poetry
Paris- based Syrian-Lebanese Arab poet Adonis has been chosen for 2015 Kumaran Asan World Prize for poetry, instituted by the Kumaran Asan Memorial Association to honour poets of international stature and introduce them to Indian readers. Adonis was born as Ali Ahmad Said Esber in Western Syria in 1930. Since 1985, he had settled in Paris, France.

Susanta Lahiri Awarded Hevesy Medal Award 2015
Professor Susanta Lahiri was awarded prestigious the Hevesy Medal Award 2015. The award was presented to him for his outstanding contributions in heavy ion induced radioisotope production, converter targets, tracer packet technique and green chemistry.

Satya Nadella Honoured with the White House ‘Champion of Change’Award
Microsoft’s Indian-origin CEO Satya Nadella was honoured with the White House Champions of Change on 16 April. He is one of the 12 local Champions of Change who were honoured for their exemplary leadership. Champions of Change honour is given to those who support working families and help make change in their companies or communities.


SPORTS & GAMES

Mariya Muzychuk Won Women’s World Chess Championship
World Women Chess Championship 2015 was won by Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine. She defeated Russian Natalija Pogonina by 2.5 to 1.5 points in the four-game final.Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika on 6 April 2015 won Bronze medal along with Swedish Grandmaster Pia Cramling in the World Women’s chess championships held at Sochi, Russia.

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara Named Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 2014
Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara has been honoured with the Cricketer of the Year in the 2015 edition of the prestigious Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack on 8 April. He has become only the second cricketer after India’s Virender Sehwag to be bestowed with the award twice.

New Zealand Won Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament 2015
New Zealand won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s Hockey Tournament title on 12 April.In the final clash played at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia, New Zealand defeated World Champions Australia 3-1.India won Bronze Medal (third position) by beating south Korea by 4-1 in the penalty shoot-out.

Djokovic Won Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year 2015 Award
The Laureus World Sports Awards for the year 2015 were given in seven categories on 15 April at Shanghai in China. Ace tennis star Novak Djokovic of Serbia and sprinter Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia were named as the Laureus World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the 2015 respectively.

Novak Djokovic Won Monte Carlo Masters Title
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the Monte-Carlo Masters title of Tennis on 20 April. He defeated Berdych of Czech Republic in the men’s singles final. It was his second Monte-Carlo Masters title of Tennis. With this win, Djokovic also became the first player to sweep the opening three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events of a season. The previous two titles were won at Indian Wells and Miami.


ECONOMY

Union Government Unveiled new FTP
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry on 2 April unveiled Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-2020. The new trade policy will incorporate government ambitious initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India mission, Skill India programme, ease of business in order to boost jobs and take India’s exports to 900 billion dollars by 2020. In the new policy FTP2015-20, two new schemes Merchandise Exports From India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports From India Scheme (SEIS) were introduced.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launched MUDRA Bank
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 April launched the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd. (MUDRA) Bank in New Delhi.The bank will provide credit of up to 10 lakh rupees to small entrepreneurs and act as a regulator for Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs). The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana will be the main support system for the bank and will be the part of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). MUDRA Bank has been started with an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore. Apart from this, Rs. 3,000 crore has been earmarked as credit guarantee corpus.

India Ranks 125th In the World For Fixed Broadband Penetration
According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) latest report, India ranks 125th in the world for fixed broadband penetration with only 1.2 per 100 inhabitants and the global average is 9.4 per 100 inhabitants.This rating puts India behind Sri Lanka and Bhutan. In the wireless or mobile broadband segment, India is ranked at 113th with a penetration of 3.2 per 100 inhabitants.

India Fourth Largest Supplier of Generic Medicines To US
India has emerged as the fourth largest supplier of generic medicines to the United States. It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) for Chemicals and Fertilizers Hansraj Ahir gave this information in the Rajya Sabha in reply to a question. India’s generic medicines exports have touched over US 4 billion dollars in 2013-14 in spite of stringent regulatory measures imposed by US. Union Government also announced that Indian pharmaceutical companies are already exporting generic medicines to Africa, West Asia and European countries.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Nuclear-Capable Dhanush Missile Successfully Test Fired
India on 9 April successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile with a strike range of 350 km from a naval ship off the Odisha coast. The surface-to-surface Dhanush, a naval variant of India’s indigenously-developed Prithvi missile, was test fired from a ship in the Bay of Bengal off Odisha coast by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the defence force. Dhanush missile is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear payload of 500 to 1000 kilogram and can hit both land and sea-based targets within 350 km range.

Nuclear Capable Agni-III Ballistic Missile Test Fired Successfully
The Surface-to-Surface Agni III ballistic missile was successfully test-fired on 16 April from the Wheelar Isalnd off the Odisha coast in the Bay of Bengal.Although the missile has a strike range of more than 3000 km, in the present test-fire, it was tested for a lesser range. The Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system.

World’s First Self-Powered Camera Developed
Columbia University scientists have created the world’s first self-powered camera. The camera can indefinitely produce an image in each second of any well-lit indoor area. K. Nayar, a computer scientist of Indian origin, headed the research. He designed a pixel that apart from measuring incident light also converts it into electric power.

Navy’s Stealth Destroyer ‘INS Visakhapatnam ‘ Launched
Indian Navy’s new stealth destroyer named INS Visakhapatnam was launched on 20 April at the Mazgaon Docks Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai, Maharashtra.It was designed indigenously. It is a Kolkata class warship.It is also the first of P15-B stealth destroyers.The ship weighs 3000 tonnes and is 163 metres long.It is designed to achieve speed of more than 30 knots at displacement of around 7300 tonnes.INS Vishakapatnam will also be fitted with supersonic surface to surface missile system.

NASA develops First 3-D Printed Copper Rocket Engine Part
NASA engineers have developed the first full-scale three dimensional (3-D) printed copper rocket engine part. The part developed was a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures and pressures using additive manufacturing technique.


PERSONS IN NEWS

A) APPOINTMENTS

Nasim Zaidi Takes Over as new CEC  
Nasim Zaidi took over as the 20th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India on 19 April.He is India’s 20th CEC and succeeded Hari Shankar Brahma, who had retired on April 18, 2015.

Loretta Lynch Sworn In As U.S. Attorney General
Loretta Lynch on 27 April 2015 was sworn-in as the United States’ 83rd Attorney General, the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official. She succeeded former attorney general Eric Holder, who left the position on 24 April 2015 after serving as Attorney General for six years.

B)RESIGNS

ICC president Mustafa Kamal Resigned
International Cricket Council (ICC) President A.H.M. Mustafa Kamal resigned from his post on 1 April.Mustafa Kamal is a Bangladeshi politician and cricket official. Apart from being the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), he was also functioning as the President of ICC since 2014. He resigned from this post as he was apparently hurt at not being given the opportunity to hand out the World Cup trophy to champions Australia.

C)DEATHS

Nobel Laureate German Novelist Gunter Grass Died
German Nobel laureate novelist Guenter Grass was died on 13 April in Luebeck, Germany. He was 87. He was a novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. His writings mainly focused on the Nazi era, the horrors of the war and the destruction and guilt that remained after defeat of Germany.

D)VISITORS

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visited France
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France from 9-11 April 2015. During the visit, Narendra Modi met with French President Francois Hollande and had talks with business leaders of select French companies in defence and infrastructure sectors. India and France signed 17 agreements in various fields.These included deals on Rafale fighter jets, Jaitapur nuclear reactor, renewable sources of energy, railways, smart city and several others. Among other agreements signed between India and France , an important agreement was struck on both the countries proceeding forward on the stalled nuclear project in Jaitapur in Maharashtra.Narendra Modi visited the CNES (National Centre for Space Studies) and the Airbus A 380 Assembly Line Facility in Toulouse, France. He gifted a painting titled Tree of Life, reflecting traditional societal respect for nature in India to the French President Francois Hollande.

E)MISCELLANEOUS

Minor Planet Named as ‘4538 Vishyanand’
Michael Rudenko, a committee member of the Minor Planet Center on 1 April officially named a minor planet as 4538 Vishyanand, to honour India’s first chess grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand.The main-belt minor planet was discovered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on 10 October 1988. Since its discovery, the planet remained unnamed.


PLACES  IN  NEWS

Thane Named As National Earth Hour Capital 2015 By WWF
Thane in Mumbai, Maharashtra was named as the National Earth Hour Capital 2015 on 9 April 2015. Thane city won the bid among the three finalists Thane, Pune and Rajkot in the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) 2015 conducted by World Wide Fund. Seoul city, the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, on 9 April 2015 was awarded the title of Global Earth hour Capital 2015 after it won the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


ABBREVIATIONS

IFCI   —————  Industrial Finance Corporation of India

IFSC  —————  International Financial Services Centre

UN ECOSOC  ——- United Nations’ Economic and Social Council

IRENA ————- International Renewable Energy Agency

SDRF ————–  State Disaster Response Fund


BOOKS IN NEWS

” Historical Documents Testify The ‘ Sovereignty of Senkaku” Authored By Tadayoshi Murata
The book entitled “Historical Documents Testify the ‘ Sovereignty of Senkaku’authored by Tadayoshi Murata, an honorary professor at Japan’s Yokohama National University. The book describes how the Japanese government illegally occupied the Chinese Diaoyu Islands step by step in the 1890s. Japan has recently intensified its propaganda to claim several uninhabited islands disputed with its neighbor in the East China Sea, but a Japanese historian refuted the claim and questioned Tokyo’s reliability since it has manipulated evidence to mislead the rest of the world on the territorial issue.


COMMITTEES

Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry Constituted Ajay Shankar committee To Simplify Clearances
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 8 April formed an expert committee under the chairmanship of Ajay Shankar to suggest simplified compliance for establishing new industries. He is a former Secretary to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The Expert Committee has been constituted for examining the possibility of replacing multiple prior permissions with pre-existing regulatory mechanism and to prepare draft legislation for this purpose.


IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

World Malaria Day Observed Across The World
World Malaria Day (WMD) was observed on 25 April 2015 across the world. The day was observed to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.The day is observed to recognise the global efforts to control malaria. It is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria control and elimination.World Malaria Day was instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States during the 2007 World Health Assembly.On the occasion of the 2015 World Malaria Day (WMD), WHO called on the global health community to urgently address significant gaps in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria.

World Book and Copyright Day was Celebrated On 23 April 2015
United Nations (UN) observed World Book and Copyright Day across the world on 23 April 2015. The day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them. For the year 2015, UNESCO designated Incheon, South Korea as the World Book Capital 2015 in recognition of its programme to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. The day is also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days and is organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyright. In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.

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