India, Mongolia to enhance bilateral trade and investments
• India and Mongolia on April 25, 2018 agreed to explore ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance bilateral trade and investments.
• The announcement came during the meeting of Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee between Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Ulaanbaatar.
• During the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee meeting on Cooperation, the two sides discussed global challenges, particularly the scourge of terrorism and agreed to collaborate bilaterally to stop those who extend support to terrorist outfits.
• Both the sides also agreed to explore the possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
• The two countries agreed to remove institutional and logistical impediments to boost trade, tourism and people to people contacts.
World Malaria Day 2018 observed with the theme ‘Ready to beat malaria’
• The World Malaria Day was observed across the world on April 25, 2018 with the theme ‘Ready to beat malaria’.
• This year’s World Malaria Day coincided with the 70th anniversary of the WHO.
• The day seeks to recognise the global efforts to control preventable vector borne disease malaria.
• According to WHO, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, around 445000 died due to Malaria and 15 countries, all but one in sub-Saharan Africa, carry 80 percent of the global malaria burden.
NITI Aayog to open applications for Atal New India Challenge
• The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog will be launching the Atal New India Challenge on April 26, 2018.
• Under the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products using cutting edge technologies across 17 focus areas such as Climate Smart Agriculture, Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock, Waste Management etc.
• Applicants who will be able to show capabilities, intent and potential to utilise these technologies will be awarded grants of up to Rs 1 crore.
India plans to gift obsolete weaponry to friendly countries
• In order to boost defence cooperation, the Union Government has asked the armed forces to compile a list of obsolete military equipment that can be refurbished at minimal cost with an aim to gift them to friendly countries.
• With such initiative, the government plans to create a base to expand export of newer defence platforms which have been made in India.
• Specific military platforms which are being looked at as obsolete or nearing obsolescence are artillery guns, armoured vehicles, helicopters, naval patrol vehicles and radar systems.
Union Government to tie up with US and Finland to develop new pollution-forecast system
• The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be tying up with the United States and Finland to develop new pollution-forecast system to anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at greater resolution.
• The new system will be jointly developed with expertise from Finnish Meteorological Institute and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
• Currently, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) serves as the apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Coastal security exercise Sagar Kavach held in Kerala
• Two-day coastal security exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ was held in Kerala to strengthen and evaluate the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism.
• The exercise saw participation of Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Indian Navy, Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing and various other security stakeholders.
• Three Indian Navy ships participated in the exercise along with 10 ships of ICG, four fishing boats, besides 20 coastal police stations from Vizhinjam to Kasaragod.
• The exercise was aimed at providing seamless seaward cover along coast by all concerned security agencies from coastal belt area to limit of territorial waters i.e. 12 nautical miles.
World’s smallest land fern discovered in Western Ghats
• Researchers have discovered the world’s smallest land fern named ‘Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern’ in Ahwa forests of Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.
• Officially named as Ophioglossum malviae, this fingernail-sized fern belongs to group known as adder’s-tongue ferns for their resemblance to snake’s tongue.
• Its size is just one centimetre and its minuscule seeds have unique thick outer layer which is not present in similar species.
• Ferns are seasonal and mostly grow with first monsoon rains.
Giant mosquito with 11.15 cm wingspan discovered in China
• Scientists have discovered a giant mosquito with a wingspan of 11.15 centimetres in China’s Sichuan province.
• The giant mosquito was discovered by scientists in August 2017 during their field trip to Mount Qingcheng in Chengdu, capital of south-west China’s Sichuan province.
• The mosquito belongs to the species Holorusia Mikado which was first found in Japan.
• The mosquito mainly feeds on nectar and not on blood and is a weak flier because of its big body.
GI tag awarded to Telangana’s Adilabad dokra, Warangal Dhurries
• Chennai based Geographical Indication Registry awarded Geographical Indication (GI) Tag to two craft forms from Telangana namely, Adilabad dokra and Warangal Dhurries.
• Adilabad Dokra is an ancient bell metal craft practiced by Woj community, while, Warangal Dhurries is a popular traditional cotton rug in which weavers create beautiful patterns and dye them using vegetable colours.
• GI tag is a name or a sign used on certain products belonging to specific geographical location or origin.