Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies aged 81
• Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of South African icon Nelson Mandela, passed away on April 2, 2018 at the age of 81.
• Madikizela-Mandela died peacefully surrounded by her family following a long illness that kept her in and out of hospital since the start of 2018.
• Winnie was jailed, banished several times for her part in the fight against white-minority rule.
• Though she emerged as a combative anti-apartheid campaigner during her husband Nelson Mandela’s decades in jail, her reputation was later tarnished by allegations of violence.
• An official memorial service will be held for Madikizela-Mandela on April 11 and a national funeral on April 14.
Qutub Minar turns blue on World Autism Awareness Day
• Qutub Minar on April 2, 2018 was lit up with blue lights on World Autism Awareness Day as part of the international '#LightItUpBlue' campaign to increase sensitisation and acceptance of autism in the society.
• Organised by Autism Centre for Excellence (ACE), a school for autistic children, in association with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the event, for the second time, placed Qutub Minar among several buildings and monuments across the world that were lit up in blue showing support to the autism community.
• The World Autism Awareness Day, which is into its 10th year, aims to sensitise people towards the disorder as well as to increase the acceptance of autistic individuals in the mainstream society.
• Other iconic buildings and landmarks to be lit up with blue lights on the day include Niagara Falls, the United Nations and White House.
• The colour blue not only stands for Autism awareness but is also considered to impart serenity in the viewer.
Haryana doubles chowkidars' allowance
• The state government of Haryana has decided to double the monthly allowance for chowkidars (watchmen), from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000. The decision came into effect on April 1, 2018.
• Following the decision, chowkidars would get uniform allowance of Rs 2,500 instead of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 instead of Rs 750 earlier for stick, battery, whistle and umbrella.
• They would also be provided with bicycles within three months.
• Besides this, the chowkidars who were removed from the services between the period 2014 and 2017 but kept on discharging their services during these years would be provided their full salaries.
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Lieutenant Colonel Dhoni receives Padma Bhushan
• On April 2, 2018, exactly seven years after helping India clinch its second World Cup, ending the 28-year wait, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award by President Ram Nath Kovind.
• Dhoni was dressed in an army uniform courtesy the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel that was conferred to him by the Indian Territorial Army on November 1, 2011, months after India lifted its second World Cup under his leadership.
• The 37-year-old Dhoni is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.
• Dhoni has been the recipient of many awards including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2007 and the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour in 2009.
• Besides Dhoni, multiple world title holder cueist Pankaj Advani was also conferred with the Padma Bhushan on the same day.
China increases tariffs on 128 US goods by up to 25%
• China has increased tariffs by up to 25 percent on 128 US products, ranging from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts in response to US duties on imports of Aluminium and Steel.
• The tariffs affecting some 3 billion US Dollars worth of imports has been reportedly to put into effect to safeguard China's interests and balance the losses caused by new US tariffs.
• The Trump administration had said its duties were aimed at Steel and Aluminium imports that it deemed a threat to US national security, but China's Commerce Ministry called that reasoning an abuse of World Trade Organization guidelines.
IIT-Kharagpur develops self-sustainable bio-toilet
• Scientists at the civil engineering department of IIT-Kharagpur have developed an award-winning bio-toilet that recycles waste water for its reuse and generates electricity.
• The scientists have already built a test case, funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) of the Union government.
• The model, with a capacity of 1500 litre, has been installed on the institute's campus. Any five people can use it every day.
• The bioelectric toilet consists of a six-chambered reactor, in which the waste water will be rotated in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions for its reuse.
• The water will also generate power and light up the toilet cabin at night, besides charging smart devices such as mobiles and tablets.
• The project received honours from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 'Swachh Bharat Award' event for its one-of-its-kind technology.
Egypt approves law to create anti-terror supreme council
• The Egyptian parliament has preliminarily approved a new law to establish a supreme council for combating terrorism.
• The final vote on the 20-article law was postponed until a later meeting due to the lack of two-thirds of parliament members as required by the Egyptian constitution.
• Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi originally ordered the creation of the Supreme Council for Combating Terrorism and Extremism after meeting with the National Defence Council following terrorist attacks last year.
• The law approval came hours before official announcement of Sisi's victory in Egypt's 2018 presidential election.
• The law, which was referred to parliament early this week, aims to mobilize all the country's forces not only to rid the country of terrorist elements, but also to contain extremist and radical ideologies.
• According to the law, the council will forge a national anti-terrorism and counter-extremism strategy every five years.
• The council, which will be led by the president and composed of 17 members, will coordinate with religious, security and media institutions to spread moderate religious thoughts.