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MoU signed for Rudraksh Plantation
- A MoU was signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga, HCL Foundation and INTACH for taking up a project of ‘Plantation of Rudraksh Trees in Uttarakhand’.
- It is a part of CSR initiative under the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme.
- The project aims at planting 10,000 Rudraksh trees in the catchment area of river Ganga in Uttarakhand.
11th Joint Consular Committee meet between India, Iran held in Delhi
- The 11th Joint Consular Committee meeting between India and Iran took place on 14th of this month in New Delhi.
- Both sides discussed the early conclusion of Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance on civil and commercial matters and extending the longer duration of e-Visa for each other nationals on reciprocity.
- The meeting provided an opportunity to review the status of ongoing cooperation in consular and visa related issues and to discuss ways and means to further expand people to people contacts and promote friendly exchanges between India and Iran.
- Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry Amit Narang led the Indian side, while the Iran delegation was led by Director General for Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Ali Asghar Mohammadi.
Trump unveils merit-based immigration system
- US President Donald Trump has rolled out a merit-based immigration system from which foreigners, including hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals and skilled workers, waiting to get Green Cards or permanent legal residency stand to benefit. He made the announcement in his Rose Garden speech yesterday.
- President Trump said under the proposed system permanent legal residency would be given based on points for their age, knowledge, job opportunities and civic sense.
- The proposals significantly increase the quota for skilled workers from the existing nearly 12 per cent to 57 per cent. Besides, immigrants will be required to learn English and pass a civics exam prior to admission.
COMCASA agreement will enable info exchange to fight terror
- India and the U.S. are cooperating to prevent all forms of terrorism both from land and sea, U.S. Chief of naval operations .
- The Admiral, who was in India earlier this week on a three-day visit Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba were especially concerned by the threat “coming from the sea”.
- The foundational agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which India signed last year would enable exchange of information on such threats.
- With COMCASA, India has signed three of the four foundational agreements with the U.S., and discussions are under way on the final one, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
- COMCASA allows India to procure specialised equipment for encrypted communications from the U.S. origin military platforms.
- Two warships, INS Kolkata and INS Shakti, are also participating in IMDEX as also several Indian engineering and ship-building firms, including the Larsen & Toubro and the BrahMos aerospace corporation.
- After IMDEX, the Indian ships along with a Navy P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft will participate in the 26th edition of the Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) scheduled from May 16 to 22.
- SIMBEX is the longest uninterrupted naval exercise that India has with any other country.
Aarohi: 1st woman to fly solo across Atlantic
- Aarohi Pandit has become the world’s first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).
- She completed the feat when she landed at Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13 May, having flown there from Wick in the UK.
- It also made Pandit the first female pilot in the world to successfully complete a solo flight across the Greenland ice cap in an LSA.
US lawmakers brought bill
- A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced identical resolutions that would require the US government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
- The bill seeks to prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States.
Saudi grants exit visas to 450 stranded Indian workers
- In Saudi Arabia, authorities have granted exit visas to 450 stranded Indian workers and their repatriation will begin soon.
- This was announced by India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed yesterday on the occasion of Iftar to share the meal with the workers.
- The Indian Embassy is working to obtain exit visas for the remaining workers.
Theresa May to confirm resignation date in June
- British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to set a firm date for her resignation as Conservative Party leader to make way for a new leader in Downing Street by next month.
- After a crunch meeting with the party’s influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, it was agreed that May would set out an exact timetable for her exit after her Brexit deal goes through the House of Commons for the fourth time in early June.
- Boris Johnson confirmed publicly for the first time that he will run to replace May as leader of the Conservative Party and the new prime minister.
- Johnson a former Cabinet minister had been widely seen as a front runner pro-Brexit candidate alongside Dominic Raab, the former Brexit minister who had similarly resigned from May’s Cabinet last year due to differences over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Jeffrey Rosen confirmed as US deputy attorney general
- In the United States, the Senate has voted to confirm Jeffrey Rosen as deputy attorney general, the second-ranking official at the Justice Department. The vote was 52-45.
- Rosen replaces Rod Rosenstein, who left the department last week.
- He was a longtime litigator who served as deputy transportation secretary in the Trump administration.
Pakistan’s currency reaches all-time low against US dollar
- Pakistan’s currency hit an all-time low against the US dollar after it dropped to Rs 148 per dollar in the inter-bank market.
- The devaluation followed bailout package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the weekend.
- The IMF agreed to provide USD 6 billion to Pakistan under stringent conditions, including a higher role of market forces in determining currency rates.
- Opposition parties blamed Imran Khan-led PTI government’s policies for weakening the national currency. Maryyium Aurangzeb of PML-Nawaz said in Islamabad that the prime minister is responsible for the mess in which he has landed the country.
- In August last year, when Khan took over the government, one dollar was equal to Rs 124.
SCIENCE AND TECH
1st women astronaut to go on Moon
- Mission Artemis will likely carry the first woman astronaut to the Moon.
- The mission has been named after the Greek Moon goddess who was also the twin sister of the Apollo.
- The first men to walk on the Moon did so under the Apollo missions between 1960 and 1972.
- Now, 50 years later, NASA has planned to send the first woman to the Moon in a manned lunar mission in 2024.