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GS-II (Governance)

2019 to be observed as ‘Year of next of kin’

  • The Indian Army is commemorating 2019 as the ‘Year of Next of Kin’.
  • It plans to reach out to the next of kin of battle casualties, ex-servicemen and serving soldiers to inform them of entitled financial benefits, welfare schemes and help resolve pension- related problems.
  • The issue gains importance in light of most next of kin of deceased soldiers being unaware of the financial benefits.

India, Vietnam discuss ways to strengthen strategic partnership

  • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu held talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Xuan Phuc in Hanoi.
  • The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues and underscored the importance of strengthening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations to ensure peace and security in the region.
  • Vice President reiterated that cordial and friendly relations between India and Vietnam have been strengthened by bonds of Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • Referring to the growing cooperation between two nations in different fields, Mr Naidu informed Mr.Xuan Phuc that India is ready to partner with Vietnam in satellite construction, both for civilian and non-civilian uses.
  • Vietnam Prime Minister’s personal intervention in facilitating the entry of Indian pharmaceutical products into their country, the Vice President assured him that the Indian companies can provide high tech health systems and medicines for public health in Vietnam at an affordable cost.
  • Mr Naidu attended the inaugural ceremony of Jaipur Artificial Limb Fitment camp at the Indian Embassy in Hanoi.
  • Mr Naidu is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations today.


Global Health Security Strategy unveiled

  • The US unveiled the ‘Global Health Security Strategy’.
  • The strategy is a first of its kind strategy to prevent, detect and respond to threats from infectious diseases occurring naturally or accidentally.
  • Under the new Strategy, it will work to ensure that every partner country has a plan to achieve self-reliance in the critical area of health security.

UN to hold 2020 Ocean Conference In Lisbon

  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will hold its 2020 high-level conference early June in Portugal’s Lisbon to support the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.
  • The Conference will support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Lisbon.

WHO for eliminating industrial trans fats

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has partnered with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA).
  • Trans fat could be eliminated from the industrially produced global food supply by 2023 if the World Health Organization (WHO) has its way.
  • Trans fat is also called the worst form of fat in food, responsible for over 5,00,000 deaths globally from coronary heart disease each year.

Road Safety Week: 6-12 May

  • UN Global Road Safety Week was observed from 6 to 12 May 2019.
  • It is celebrated every two years and highlights the need for strong leadership for road safety.
  • The theme for 2019 is ‘leadership for road safety’.

 Four ships subjected to sabotage off east coast: UAE

  • Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations yesterday near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.
  • the concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures, and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies. However, no details have been given regarding the sabotage.
  • It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to prevent such actions by parties attempting to undermine maritime traffic safety and security.
  • The act of sabotage against four ships near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.
  • The GCC Secretary-General called on the international community and international organisations concerned with maritime navigation to assume their political and legal responsibilities to prevent such acts by any parties attempting to undermine maritime traffic safety and security in this vital region.
  • “Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger”.
  • A narrow strait which separates the Gulf countries and Iran is an important global oil and shipping route.
  • There has been a recent escalation of threat between US and Iran when Tehran declared to partially withdraw from the restrictions of a 2015 nuclear deal.
  • The move comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, over the stringent objections of its European allies. The United States has also cancelled waivers to countries who have been purchasing oil from Iran.
  • The deal in 2015 with Iran was widely hailed as a major diplomatic victory by Barack Obama’s administration, but the Trump administration found it “defective to the core”.
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia are powerful neighbours and vie for regional dominance. UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

WTO ministerial meeting of developing countries to begin today

  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting of developing countries will begin in New Delhi today.
  • The two-day meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rule-based-trading system is facing serious and grave challenges.
  • The meeting will provide an opportunity for the Ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward. Today, on the first day, there will be a meeting of senior officers of the participating countries. Tomorrow, the Ministerial Meeting will be held.

U.S.’s Pompeo to hold talks on Iran in Brussels on way to Russia

  • S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cancel the Moscow leg of his Russia trip, but will meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as planned on Tuesday.
  • Pompeo, who departed from Joint Base Andrews near Washington en route for Brussels, will hold talks with European officials on Iran and other issues on Monday before heading to Russia, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
  • European countries wanted to preserve Iran’s nuclear deal and rejected “ultimatums” from Tehran, after Iran eased curbs on its nuclear programme and threatened moves that might breach the 2015 international pact.
  • On his first trip to Russia as U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Pompeo is expected to discuss with Mr. Putin and Mr. Lavrov the ”aggressive and destabilising actions” Moscow has taken around the world.
  • Pompeo would reiterate U.S. concerns about Russia is role in Venezuela and Syria and its breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, as well as Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections.
  • They discussed the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globes top three atomic powers.
  • The 2011 New START treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree.
  • Trump has called the New START treaty concluded by his predecessor, Barack Obama, a “bad deal” and “one-sided”.


Grizzled giant squirrel spotted near Gingee

  • For the first time, researchers have sighted nests of the grizzled giant squirrel at Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The squirrel is an endangered species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • Owing to habitat loss and poaching, the species has been categorized as near threatened by the Red List and listed under Schedule II of CITES.

 Bengal tigers may not survive climate change

  • According to a report by the UN, Royal Bengal Tiger, which dominates the marshy areas of the Sundarban forest reserves, may be pushed into extinction due to rise in sea levels and climate change.
  • The Sunderbans, a 10,000-km area of wet and marshy land sprawled across Bangladesh and India, is among the world’s richest mangrove forest reserves and supports species like Bengal Tiger.


KS Radhakrishnan appointed as member of CSAT

  • K S Radhakrishnan, former Supreme Court Judge, has been appointed as a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal, London.
  • He will render his services as a member of the Tribunal for a period of four years from 1st of June, 2019 to 31st of May, 2023.
  • He served as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir High Courts before his term in Supreme Court from 2009-2014.

Muhammad-Bande appointed as President of UNGA

  • TIJJANI Muhammad-Bande, a professor and former vice chancellor of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, has been appointed the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • He was the permanent representative of Nigeria at the UN.
  • When he assumes the role, the professor will become the second Nigerian to be president of the UN General Assembly.


World Migratory Bird Day: 11 May

  • World Migratory Bird Day is observed every year on 11 May.
  • The theme for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day is ‘Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.’
  • The aim of the day is to highlight the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats.





FIFA announces two new award categories

  • FIFA announced two new award categories to promote women’s football across the globe.
  • The two new award categories are off Women’s goalkeeper of the year and a women’s team of the year.
  • This announcement means and both men and women will be up for receiving accolades in the same categories at the FIFA Best ceremony in Milan on September 23.


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