1. 22 April: Earth Day
i. Every year Earth Day is being observed on the 22nd April to build support for environmental protection around the world. This year is 46th anniversary of Earth Day.
ii. Significance of the Day: It recognises that Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also aims to raise awareness that humans have a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.
iii. 2016 Theme: ‘Trees for the Earth!’. The theme signifies that trees are crucial for combating climate change as they absorb harmful levels of Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This year’s Earth Day coincides with the signing of the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
iv. The agreement is a legally binding on signatory countries to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. On this day more than one billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns from all around the globe of all nationalities, faiths and backgrounds.
2. Union Commerce Ministry launches Twitter Seva for Start-Ups
i. The Union Commerce and Industry Ministry has launched a new service Twitter Seva to address issues and grievances of startups, exporters and importers, and other stakeholders. In this regard, an institutionalised mechanism with a special Twitter cell has been created in the Ministry which is manned by a set of dedicated officers of the Ministry.
ii. Twitter Seva will address various queries of startups in a time-bound manner. In it, anyone who wants to access government irrespective of any department, they can put their queries using the hashtag – ‘#mociseva’ on micro blogging site twitter.
iii. The Union Commerce and Industry Ministry would try to respond to the queries within 48 to 72 working hours. Queries on matters relating to Department of Commerce and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will be answered through this service.
iv. It will also address queries regarding the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), , SEZs, Directorate General of supplies and Disposals, tea, rubber, coffee, spices, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
v. Issues related to manufacturing policy, investment promotion, industrial corridors, Startup India, Make in India, FDI, intellectual property rights will be also addressed.
3. Chadian President Idriss Deby wins fifth term
i. Chad’s incumbent President, Idriss Deby (63) has won a fifth term in office in a lopsided first-round victory. In the 2016 election, Idriss Deby of Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party secured the 61.56% of the vote in the first-round runoff.
ii. Opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo finished at second position with 12.80% of the vote followed by Laokein Kourayo Mbaiherem with 10.60%. For the first time, he became President of Chad, a central African country in 1990 after overthrowing President Hissène Habré in a military coup.
iii. Earlier he had won the elections in 1996 and 2001 and again in 2006 and 2011 after 2 term limits of President were eliminated. Currently he is also Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and was elected by the Assembly of Heads of State of AU in January 2016 for one year term.
iv. Chad: It is a landlocked country in northern Central Africa. It is former French Colony and became independent in 1960. It is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world as most inhabitants live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003, crude oil is country’s primary source of export earnings.
4. India replaces China as top FDI destination in 2015: FDI Intelligence Report
i. According to FDI Intelligence Report India has replaced China as the top Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination by attracting $63 billion worth FDI projects in 2015. FDI Intelligence is a division of international media company – The Financial Times Limited.
ii. India was the highest-ranked country by capital investment in the year 2015, with 63 billion dollars-worth of FDI projects announced.
iii. It was the biggest change in Greenfield FDI in 2015 was near tripling with an estimated 63 billion dollars. There was an 8 per cent increase in project numbers to 697. The boost in FDI has resulted in a whopping increase in job creation from nearly 1 lakh in 2013 to over 2 lakh jobs in 2015.
iv. These high-value projects were specifically announced across the coal, oil and natural gas and renewable energy sectors India has replaced China as the top destination for FDI by capital investment following of high-value project announcements.
5. Music legend Prince passes away
i. Pop music superstar Prince Rogers Nelson popularly known as Prince passed away in suburban Minneapolis, United States. He was 57.
ii. Prince was widely known for his flamboyant stage presence and wide vocal range. He was the pioneer of famous song the Minneapolis sound and was renowned as an innovator for his eclectic work.
6. ISRO Scientists develop world’s lightest material Silica Aerogel
i. Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have indigenously developed world’s lightest synthetic material called ‘silica aerogel’ or ‘blue air’.
ii. It was developed by the team of scientist from ISRO’s e Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Silica Aerogel is the lightest synthetic material ever made by man.
iii. Light in weight and can be delicately placed on a flower head. Excellent thermal resistance and acts as a good insulator. The matrix of aerogel is made up of 99 per cent air. In its present development stage it is still very fragile and brittle.
7. Pakistan, China signed agreement to launch a special satellite to monitor CPEC
i. Pakistan and China signed an agreement for the launch of a special satellite to monitor the development of the 46 billion US dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
ii. Pakistan Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal on behalf of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) President Yin Limping signed the agreement in Islamabad, Pakistan.
iii. This bilateral cooperation between the two nations in space domain would open new arena of socio-economic and scientific cooperation. It would give boost to the historic bilateral cordial relations in other fields
8. Europe became world’s first region to end malaria: WHO
i. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the European Region became the first in the world to have achieved interruption of indigenous malaria transmission.
ii. The number of indigenous malaria cases in the region dropped from 90712 in 1995 to zero cases in 2015.
iii. WHO released the figures in World Malaria Report 2015.
9. Uttarakhand High Court quashed imposition of President' Rule in the State
i. The Uttarakhand High Court quashed the imposition of President' Rule in the state and revived the term of Congress Government headed by Harish Rawat. The court also asked Harish Rawat to prove his majority on 29 April 2016.
ii. The decision in this regard was passed by the two-judge bench of the Uttarakhand High Court comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Chief Justice BN Bisht.iii. The court stated that there was no reason for the Centre to impose President's Rule in the state. It also said that the disqualification of the nine rebel MLAs by the Speaker under the Anti-defection Law was no material for imposition of President’s rule.
iv. The court said that the President of India is not infallible and he, too, can go wrong. Therefore, the President's decision is open to judicial scrutiny.
v. The HC order came on a plea of ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had challenged the imposition of President's rule in the state.
vi. Incidentally, the High Court, in a separate case, is also examining the issue of disqualification of 9 Congress rebel MLAs.