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India, Sweden inked pact
- India and Sweden launched a joint programme that will work towards addressing a range of challenges around smart cities and clean technologies among others.
- The programme was co-funded by the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Swedish agency Vinnova.
- Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish participants up to 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs 1.87 crore) as a grant.
Voter Park inaugurated in Gurugram
- India’s first-of-its-kind ‘Voter Park’ was inaugurated in Gurugram on 11 April 2019.
- It is aimed at increasing voter awareness and educating people about the electoral process.
- Haryana Chief Electoral Officer Rajeev Ranjan inaugurated the park in Vikas Sadan building complex.
India, Netherlands to strengthen ties
- India and the Netherlands discussed ways to strengthen bilateral political and economic ties, including boosting cooperation at the United Nations.
- The two countries held Foreign Office Consultations with the Indian side led by A Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs.
- Johanna (Yoka) Brandt, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lead the Dutch delegation.
AFC Conference inaugurated
- The first bi-annual Commanders’ Conference of IAF for the year 2019 began on 11 April 2019 at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan).
- Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa welcomed the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman to the conference.
- The theme of the conference is ‘Enhancing our operational capability in the short and long term’.
GS-II ( International Affairs)
EU, UK agreed to delay Brexit
- Britain didn’t leave the EU on April 12, 2019, after Britain and the EU agreed to an extension till the end of October 2019.
- The period is longer than the extension till June 30 that Prime Minister Theresa May had sought.
- Leaders made clear that the onus was very much on Britain to find a solution and deliver within this period.
Russia to confer its highest state decoration on PM Modi
- Russia announced its decision to confer the Order of St Andrew the Apostle – the highest state decoration of the country on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The decoration is being given to Mr. Modi for his exceptional services in promoting special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian people.
- The ‘Order of St Andrew the Apostle’ is awarded to prominent statesmen, public figures and those working in the fields of science, culture and arts in recognition of their exceptional services in promoting prosperity and glory of Russia.
- The order can also be awarded to foreign heads of state for outstanding services.
- The foreign awardees included President of China Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Geydar Aliev.
Sudan’s Ibn Auf steps down as head of military council
- Sudan, the head of country’s ruling military council General Award Ibn Auf has resigned naming Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan as his successor.
- The announcement came a day after General Auf was sworn in as the head of a transitional military council following the ouster of long-time president Omar al-Bashir
- The new leader Burhan is one of the generals who reached out to protesters at the week-long encampment near the military headquarters, meeting with them face to face, and listening to their views.
RBL Bank tied up with CreditVidya
- RBL Bank has partnered with CreditVidya to improve the lender’s customer experience.
- Through this partnership, the private sector lender will be able to gain significant insights into its customer base.
- This, in turn, will allow it to improve user experience and build customized offerings for over 15 lakh customers.
Science & Tech
SpaceX carried out first commercial launch
- SpaceX has carried out its first commercial launch with its Falcon Heavy rocket tasked with placing a Saudi satellite in orbit.
- The rocket exerts 5.1 million pounds of thrust — that of more than a dozen jetliners.
GIC India Chief awarded
- The Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India, Alice G Vaidyan was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
- She was awarded in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK.
- The Freedom of the City of London dates back to the 13th century and is bestowed upon individuals who make an impact in the financial hub of London.
2 Bengal government schemes won UN awards
- Two schemes of the West Bengal government for skill development and distribution of bicycles to students have won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society awards of the United Nations.
- The 2 schemes are the Utkarsh Bangla and Sabooj Sathi projects for youngsters.
Siva Reddy selected for Saraswati Samman 2018
- Telugu poet K Siva Reddy has been selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman, 2018 for his collection of poetry titled Pakkaki Ottigilite.
- The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation, and a plaque.
- The award, instituted by the KK Birla Foundation in 1991, is given annually for an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language, published during the last 10 years.
Eni Nuraeni: Best Athletic Coach in Asia
- Indonesian Eni Nuraeni was named by Asian Athletic Association (AAA) as the best athletic coach in Asia for the short-haul run category in 2019.
- It was announced by Indonesian athletic sports association (PB PASI).
- Eni coaches young sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri to win the 100m gold medal in 10.20 seconds in the 2019 Grand Prix Malaysia Open athletics championships.
Paralympics medallist won Fellowship
- Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was named as the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her ‘inspiring achievements’.
- She will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand.
- She is a recipient of India’s civilian Honour Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award.