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President of India’s 2 day visit to Jammu & Kashmir overview
On 18th and 19th April 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind was on his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

President of India's 2 day visit to Jammu & Kashmir overviewPresident of India’s 2 day visit to Jammu & Kashmir:
i. President Ram Nath Kovind was accompanied by First Lady Savita Kovind. He was received by J&K Governor N N Vohra, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta and Legislative Council Chairman Haji Anayat Ali at the airport.
ii. Ram Nath Kovind addressed the sixth convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) at Katra on 18th April 2018. Nearly 880 scholars received degrees and merit certificates at the event.
iii. The founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Bharti Mittal, and the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Munjal Auto Engineering Limited, Sudhir Munjal, were conferred honorary doctorate by SMVDU at the event.
iv. A civic reception was held at the Amar Mahal Lawns in Jammu to honor Ram NAth Kovind on 18th April 2018.
v. Ram Nath Kovind also met Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Ramalingam Sudhakar and other judges.
vi. On 19th April 2018, Ram Nath Kovind visited the Mubarak Mandi heritage site.
Some National Parks in Jammu & Kashmir:
♦ Kishtwar National Park
♦ Dachigam National Park
♦ Hemis National Park

India, Eritrea sign MoU on Foreign Office Consultations
On April 20, 2018, India and Eritrea signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi.
More information about India-Eritrea MoU:
i. The MoU will facilitate a structured dialogue for strengthening bilateral corporation between both the countries.
ii. It will be instrumental in taking forward the warm and cordial relation between India and Eritrea in political, commercial and education spheres.
iii. India has been providing capacity building assistance to Eritrea in several fields such as legislative drafting, technical scholarships (agriculture, education, health), and food aid.
Quick Facts about Eritrea:
♦ Capital – Asmara
♦ Currency – Nakfa
♦ Current President – Isaias Afwerki
♦ Neighbouring countries – Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti

 e-SANAD portal and National Academic Depository integrated
On 18th April 2018, the integration of e-SANAD portal and NAD – National Academic Depository (of HRD Ministry) was launched by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

e-SANAD portal and National Academic Depository integratedIntegration of e-SANAD portal and NAD – National Academic Depository (of HRD Ministry):
i. Minister of State for HRD (Human Resource Development), Dr. Satyapal Singh said that the integration of e-SANAD and NAD – National Academic Depository, will improve transparency in the Indian education system.
ii. The government had launched e-SANAD portal in 2017 to digitise the process of attestation of documents for those going abroad, without visiting government offices for the purpose.
iii. National Academic Depository was launched by the government to digitally store school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of institutions of higher education.
Some important sea ports in India:
♦ Paradip Port – Odisha
♦ Haldia Port – West Bengal
♦ Tuticorin Port – Tamil Nadu

Two day Regional Conference on “Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges” begins in Ahmedabad
On 19th April 2018, the 2-day Regional Conference on “Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges” began in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges:
i. Organisers: The conference is organized by Ministry of Finance, along with the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Gujarat Council, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), an autonomous research organization under the Ministry of External Affairs.
ii. The Conference is a lead-up event to the 3rd Annual Meeting of AIIB that would be held on 25th and 26th June 2018 in Mumbai.
iii. The Conference was attended by experts, policy practitioners, officials from central government, industry leaders, bilateral partners and representatives of Multilateral Development Banks like AIIB.
iv. Issues related to financing, institutional and regulatory environment, technological options for sustainable future, financial sustainability etc. were discussed in the conference.
About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
♦ President – Jin Liqun
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China

Gujarat launches magazine on hemophilia to spread awareness
On World Haemophilia Day (17th April 2018), Gujarat assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi launched ‘Haemophilia Jagruti, a magazine to create awareness on haemophilia, an inherited bleeding disorder.

Gujarat launches magazine on hemophilia to spread awarenessHaemophilia Jagruti:
i. Haemophilia Jagruti is a tri-monthly magazine. It aims to share knowledge and the research done on Haemophilia. Hemophilia affects over 6,000 people in Gujarat.
ii. In India there are more than 16,000 registered patients of hemophilia. It is a hereditary and genetic disorder that curbs the body’s ability to control blood clotting.
iii. Even after a minor injury or cut, the patients’ blood does not clot normally due to the absence of clotting proteins named Anti Hemophilia Factors.
Some dams in Gujarat:
♦ Ukai Dam – Tapti River
♦ Sardar Sarovar Dam – Narmada River

Centre aims to make UP open-defecation free state
Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) have come together to make Uttar Pradesh Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Efforts to attain ODF status for UP:
i. To accomplish this feat, the ministries recently organised a training camp for nearly 1000 masons in Jhansi city for the construction of twin pit toilets.
ii. These masons will also go through skilling sessions under the guidance of NSDC. The plan is to impart training to 50000 masons in future.
iii. This is the first training camp, launched as a part of an intense drive towards making India Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2019
Quick Facts about Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Lucknow
♦ Current Governor – Ram Naik
♦ Current Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
♦ Important National Park – Dudhwa National Park

Taipei World Trade Centre opens in Delhi
In a bid to promote trade between India and Taiwan, Taipei World Trade Centre (TWTC) launched its office at New Delhi on April 19, 2018.

Taipei World Trade Centre opens in DelhiMore information about TWTC in New Delhi:
i. Taipei World Trade Centre will serve as a single venue that combines consulting service on trade-related issues, trading partners, suppliers, and markets for international business.
ii. On the occasion of launch, leading Indian trade bodies such as Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Society of Manufactures of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and World Trade Center, Mumbai notified MoUs with TWTC for enhancing trade collaboration.
iii. In context of this news, it is important to note that gross volume of the bilateral trade between India and Taiwan currently stands at 6.3 billion.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UK Visit – Overview
i. On April 18, 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in London, United Kingdom (UK) for a four-day official visit, during which, he held bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on April 19, 2018.
ii. India and UK sign 10 agreements in several sectors including cyber-relationship and Ganga rejuvenation
iii. Indian IT body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has partnered with techUK to launch the UK-India Tech Alliance aimed at strengthening the technology sectors in both the countries.
iv. Through UK-India Joint Statement issued during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to UK, both the countries have agreed to reinforce the Strategic Partnership, based on shared values, common law and institutions.
v. India is among four countries to pool into the USD 5 million ‘Commonwealth Small States Trade Finance Facility’ which will enable small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance to diversify their economies and achieve the sustainable development goals.
vi. On April 18, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a series of bilateral meetings including discussions with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and Seychelles President Danny Faure on the sidelines of the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, UK………………………………………………………………………………………Click here to Read More

Saudi Arabia unveils first new cinema
On 18th April 2018, Saudi Arabia unveiled its first cinema in more than 35 years with a private screening of the mega hit Hollywood movie ‘Black Panther’, as a trial run before movie theaters are opened to the public.

Saudi Arabia unveils first new cinemaSaudi Arabia unveils first new cinema:
i. The private screening was made in an invitation-only event. This has been done after Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on cinemas in 2017 as part of a liberalization initiative.
ii. US firm AMC Entertainment has been offered the first license to operate movie theatres in Saudi Arabia.
iii. It was earlier said that, the movie theaters are expected to open to the public in May 2018. It is said that, test screenings would be done for few days and an online ticketing system will be formally launched.
About Saudi Arabia:
♦ King – Salman
♦ Crown Prince – Mohammad

The first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
On 19th April 2018, the first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., United States.
The first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors:
i. Subhash Chandra Garg , Secretary , Department of Economic Affairs (EA) represented Ministry of Finance, India, in the meeting.
ii. Major issues discussed in the meeting were related to:

  • improving the project pipelines of New Development Bank (NDB) evenly across member countries
  • expansion of NDB’s membership
  • proposal of South African Presidency for setting up a working group on illicit financial flows
  • BRICS Task Force on Public Private Partnership
  • issues related to BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA)
  • BRICS Bond Fund

About New Development Bank (NDB):
♦ President – K V Kamath
♦ Headquarters – Shanghai, China

India, Afghanistan held bi-lateral meet on drugs
On 20th April 2018, India and Afghanistan held bi-lateral talks to discuss issues related to illicit drug trafficking and narcotics abuse, in New Delhi.

India, Afghanistan held bi-lateral meet on drugsIndia, Afghanistan held bi-lateral meet on drugs:
i. The Indian side was led by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Director General Abhay. The Afghan side was led by Director (International Affairs) of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics Abdul Qayyom Samer.
ii. Discussions were held on cooperation between India and Afghanistan for exchange of ideas, sharing of best practices and enhancing areas of cooperation in the drug crime domain.
iii. India is located between two major narcotics regions: the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) and the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand). It is prone to transit, tra­fficking and consumption of opium derivatives and its different forms.
About Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB):
♦ Purpose – national agency to coordinate efforts of various government departments against the narcotics menace
♦ Functions under – Union Home Ministry
♦ Formed – 1986


India contributing to global growth in financial inclusion: World Bank report
Global Findex Report, 2017 released by the World Bank has acknowledged that rapid increase in financial inclusion has taken place in India in recent years.
Increase in Financial Inclusion:
i. As per the report, number of account holders in India rose from 35 percent of the adults in 2011 to 53 percent in 2014 and 80 percent in 2017.
ii. This growth has been largely attributed to Government’s Jan Dhan Yojana, launched in 2014.
iii. 51.4 crore accounts have been opened globally from 2014 to 2017. During this period 28.17 crore Jan Dhan Accounts were opened in India, constituting almost 55 percent of the accounts opened globally.
iv. Highlighting the growth of digital payments in India, the report states that 36 percent of account owners in India are already using their accounts to make or receive digital payments.
Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim


India is world’s sixth largest economy: IMF
India has been declared the 6th largest economy in the world with a GDP of 2.6 trillion in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) for April 2018.

India is world’s sixth largest economy: IMFIndia is world’s sixth largest economy: IMF:
i. India has replaced France on the 6th position. United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom are ahead of India in the ranking.
ii. India has improved on structural reforms in the recent past, also through GST, which will help eliminate internal barriers for trade, increase efficiency, and improve tax compliance.
iii. The report has said that, the medium-term growth outlook for India is strong.
iv. It has said that, India’s high public debt and recent failure to achieve the budget’s deficit target require continued fiscal consolidation into the medium term to further strengthen fiscal policy credibility.
v. IMF said that, the main priorities for reducing constraints on job creation and ensuring that demographic dividend is not wasted are to ease labour market rigidities, reduce infrastructure bottlenecks, and improve educational outcomes.
vi. IMF has said that Corporate debt overhang puts a drag on investment in India.
vii. According to the report, the recapitalization plan for major public-sector banks announced in 2017 will help fill up capital buffers and improve the banking sector’s ability to support growth.
viii. India has improved from 6.7 % in 2017 to 7.8 % in 2018. As per the analyses done by the World Economic Outlook (WEO), over one year the Indian economy was supported by resurgent net exports and strong private consumption, respectively, while investment growth reduced.
About International Monetary Fund (IMF):
♦ MD – Christine Lagarde
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US


Dilip Chenoy new Secretary General of FICCI
On 17th April 2018, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) informed that, it has appointed Dilip Chenoy as its new Secretary General.

Dilip Chenoy new Secretary General of FICCIDilip Chenoy new Secretary General of FICCI:
i. Dilip Chenoy replaces Sanjaya Baru as the Secretary General of FICCI. Sanjaya Baru had decided to step down from his position.
ii. Dilip Chenoy joined FICCI as Director General. Earlier, he was working as MD & CEO of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) from May 2010 till October 2015.
iii. He was also Director General of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) from 2004 till 2010.
About Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI):
♦ President – Rashesh Shah
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Rahul Kulshreshth appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Egypt
Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has appointed Rahul Kulshreshth as the next Ambassador of India to Egypt.
i. Kulshreshth is a member of the 1985 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).
ii. He is currently serving as Ambassador of India to the Republic of Turkey.
Quick Facts about Egypt:
♦ Capital – Cairo
♦ Currency – Egyptian pound
♦ Current President – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
♦ Neighbouring Countries – Sudan, Israel, Libya

Sanjay Bhattacharya appointed as the next Ambassador of lndia to Turkey
Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has appointed Sanjay Bhattacharya as the next Ambassador of India to Turkey.
i. Bhattacharya is a member of the 1987 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).
ii. He is currently serving as Ambassador of India to Egypt.
Quick Facts about Turkey:
♦ Capital – Ankara
♦ Currency – Turkish lira
♦ Current President – Recep Tayyip Erdogan
♦ Important Rivers – Euphrates, Tigris

Ravi Thapar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Nicaragua
Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has appointed Ravi Thapar as the next Ambassador of India to Nicaragua.

Ravi Thapar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Nicaraguai. Ravi Thapar is a member of the 1983 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).
ii. He is currently serving as Ambassador of India to Panam.
Quick Facts about Nicaragua:
♦ Capital – Managua
♦ Currency – Cordoba
♦ Current President – Daniel Ortega


Zoom announces mega partnership with Myntra
Zoom, part of the Times Network has announced a partnership with India’s leading online fashion e-tailer, Myntra.

More information about Zoom-Myntra partnership:
i. This partnership is slated to be one of the biggest-ever brand partnerships in the television history in India.
ii. As per the terms of this partnership, Zoom will transition from being just a TV channel to the best entertainment and style destination across every medium viz. TV, Social, On-Ground and Digital.
iii. On April 19, 2018, Zoom unveiled its new avatar, ‘Zoom Styled by Myntra’.
Quick Facts about Myntra:
♦ Founded in – 2008
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
♦ Parent Company – Flipkart


NASA launches CHESS mission to study matter between stars
On 17th April 2018, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph or CHESS 4 on a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket, from the Kwajalein Atoll in The Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph or CHESS 4:
i. The CHESS 4 mission will study the interstellar medium (the matter between stars). It focuses on translucent clouds of gas that provide the fundamental building blocks for stars and planets.
ii. These clouds have very low densities. The only way to study them is to measure how a cloud is affected by a star and related outpouring of stellar material, the stellar wind moving through it.
iii. The payload will be recovered. It will be the second NASA astronomical mission with water recovery.
iv. CHESS 4 was earlier planned to be launched on 13th April 2018. Its launch was postponed due to high winds.
v. The CHESS 4 instrument was developed by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
vi. Prior to this, the Penn State Water Recovery X-ray (WRX) rocket was launched on 4th April 2018.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
♦ Acting Administrator – Robert M. Lightfoot Jr.
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.


FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 unveils official mascot
On 18th April 2018, Son of Dreams was unveiled as official Mascot of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, in Beijing, China.

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 unveils official mascotSon of Dreams – official Mascot of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019:
i. Son of Dreams was born in China on 8th August 2015. Son of Dreams’ magical horns give him the power to see in the future, visualizing plays and moves before they happen in real.
ii. The selection of Son of Dreams as China 2019’s Official Mascot was conducted through a unique process of FIBA.
iii. The mascot finalists are: a Chinese dragon (‘Son of Dream’), a Siberian tiger (‘Speed Tiger’) and a lion (‘Qiu Qiu’).
iv. This first ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held in eight Chinese cities from 31st August to 15th September 2019.
About FIBA (International Basketball Federation):
♦ President – Horacio Muratore
♦ Location – Mies, Switzerland


Indian animation expert Bhimsain Khurana passed away
On 17th April 2018, Indian animation expert Bhimsain Khurana passed away at a hospital in Mumbai while undergoing dialysis.

Indian animation expert Bhimsain Khurana passed awayDeath of Bhimsain Khurana:
i. Bhimsain Khurana was 82 years old. His first animation short film was “The Climb”. He won the Silver Hugo Award in the Chicago Film Festival for that movie.
ii. He had directed and produced several animation and ad films. He had won National Award for his animation short film “Ek Anek Ekta”.
iii. In 1991, he made computer-aided animation serial “Lok Gatha” based on folk tales. He was also a writer. He had written six books.
Some important dams in Maharashtra:
♦ Gangapur Dam – Godavari River
♦ Kanholibara Dam – Krishna River
♦ Totladoh Dam – Pench River


World Liver Day observed on 19th April
On 19th April 2018, World Liver Day was observed all over the world.
World Liver Day:
i. World Liver Day is observed every year on 19th April to create awareness on importance of liver to our body and how liver ailments can be treated and managed.
ii. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India. Liver is the second largest organ in human body.
iii. Liver diseases can be caused by hepatitis A, B, C, alcohol and drugs. Viral Hepatitis occurs due to intake of contaminated food and water, unsafe sexual practices and drug abuse.
iv. Theme for World Liver Day 2018: “Riding new waves in liver diagnosis, staging and treatment.”
About World Health Organisation (WHO):
♦ Director-General – Tedros Adhanom
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland