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Current Affairs in Short: 19 April 2019

The state-owned carrier, Air India hired 150 cabin crew staff of Jet Airways for its international routes on Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft and plans to lease 5 Jet Boeing 777 aircraft that have been grounded by Jet Airways, as a goodwill gesture for debt-ridden Jet Airways.

Apr 19, 2019 17:33 IST

Air India hires Jet Airways’ employees; SpiceJet & Air India plan to lease Jet’s Boeing aircraft

• The state-owned carrier, Air India hired 150 cabin crew staff of Jet Airways for its international routes on Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft and plans to lease 5 Jet Boeing 777 aircraft that have been grounded by Jet Airways, as a goodwill gesture for debt-ridden Jet Airways.
• Air India also offered special fares to passengers with confirmed return tickets for travel till April 28 on Jet Airways’ flights on 19 international routes.
• Even budget carrier SpiceJet announced that it will lease six Boeing 737 planes and roll out additional daily new flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi to encash void left by the temporary grounding of Jet Airways.
• The move came after cash-strapped Jet Airways on April 17, 2019 suspended all its domestic and international flights indefinitely with immediate effect after the lenders refused to release emergency funds for the carrier.
• The grounding of Jet’s operations has put the future of over 20,000 employees at stake who were left with no work at hand.  

Scientists detect universe’s first molecule in Space

• Scientists have detected the most ancient type of molecule, Helium hydride ion (HeH+) in space for the first time ever.
• The HeH+ was the first molecule that formed almost 14 billion years ago when falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.
• At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form HeH+.
• Despite its importance in the history of the early Universe, HeH+ has so far escaped detection in outer space.

Amazon to shutdown online operations in China

• Amazon plans to close down online retail operations in China, admitting defeat to local e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba and JD.com.
• However, it will continue other operations in China such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kindle e-books and teams that help ship goods from Chinese merchants to customers abroad.
• Amazon entered China in 2004, when it acquired a local online book seller for USD 75 million.
• It launched its Prime membership programme in China in 2016 with aim to lure customers with high-quality Western goods and perks like free international deliveries; however, all this went in vain.
• The US-based retailer now plans to focus more on the Indian e-commerce market.

HBO asks Donald Trump to avoid using ‘Game of Thrones’ inspired meme

• American premium television network, HBO asked the US President Donald Trump to avoid using memes inspired by its hit series, ‘Game of Thrones’ (GOT) for political purpose.
• This came after President Trump put out a tweet with a GOT-inspired meme after US Attorney General Bill Barr reiterated that there was no conspiracy between the Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia.
• Trump tweeted, ““NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. For the haters and the radical left Democrats -- GAME OVER.”

Book on Jallianwala Bagh poem 'Khooni Vaisakhi' released in UAE

• A book containing English translation of the 100-year-old Punjabi poem about Jallianwala Bagh massacre, 'Khooni Vaisakhi' released in UAE.
• The poem was translated by India's Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri whose grandfather, revolutionary poet and novelist Nanak Singh wrote it after witnessing first-hand the events of massacre on April 13, 1919.
• The book was also released in New Delhi on April 13, 2019, marking 100 years since the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that took place in Amritsar.

Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigns

• Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigned from the cabinet before securing a multi-billion dollar International Monetary Fund bailout package for the cash-strapped country.
• Umar recently returned after visiting the US in which the details of Pakistan's next IMF bailout were discussed.
• Pakistan is seeking USD 8 billion funding from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country's economy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin

• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia soon for his first meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
• The announcement came after North Korea announced it had tested a new tactical weapon with a powerful warhead, as denuclearisation talks with Washington appear to stop.
• Russia has relatively warm ties with the North Korea and provides some food aid to the country.
• The last summit between a Russian and North Korean head of state came in 2011, when Kim's father Kim Jong Il travelled to Siberia to meet Dmitry Medvedev, then Russia's President.