Kathua rape case: SC directs J&K government to protect victim's family, lawyer
• The Supreme Court on April 16, 2018 directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the eight-year-old Kathua gangrape and murder victim.
• The judge’s bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also asked the state government to give security to the lawyer and a family friend assisting them in pursuing the case.
• The apex court also directed the state police to provide adequate security at the observation home where a juvenile accused has been kept.
• The bench said that the policemen providing security to the victim's family and others will be in plain clothes.
• Further, the apex court has sought response of the state government on the plea of the victim's father seeking transfer of the trial of the case from Kathua, preferably to Chandigarh. The next hearing of the case will be on April 27, 2018.
China launches website to report foreign spies
• China has stepped up its campaign against foreign espionage with a website in Mandarin and English encouraging people to report national security threats such as bids to overthrow the socialist system.
• The website, 12339.gov.cn, launched by the Ministry of National Security on April 15, also urges anyone to report attempts by Chinese nationals or foreigners to bribe state or military officials, instigate armed riots or incite ethnic separatism.
• The potential problematic behaviour also includes foreigners meeting "any person within China who has conducted activities endangering state security or is strongly suspected of doing so" -raising concerns that any interaction with dissidents would be frowned upon.
• According to the website, the informants will be rewarded for discovering espionage equipment or for tip-offs on anyone suspected of buying or selling state secrets.
US to restrict movement of Pakistani diplomats from May 1
• The United States has notified Pakistan that the diplomats at their embassy in Washington and at consulates in other cities would not be able to travel beyond 40 kilometres of their offices without permission from May 1, 2018.
• According to the notification, diplomats would need to apply for permission at least five days ahead of an intended travel outside the imposed 40-kilometre radius.
• Pakistan had already imposed similar restrictions on American diplomats in the country, who were not allowed to visit the tribal belt or Karachi.
• Islamabad however, said that those are not restrictions but security measures intended to protect American diplomats.
Former US First lady Barbara Bush passes away
• Former US first lady Barbara Bush passed away on April 17, 2018 at the age of 92.
• She was the wife of former US President George HW Bush and mother of another former President George W Bush.
• As the first lady, from 1989 to 1993, she embraced the cause of universal literacy and founded a foundation for family literacy.
• In his tribute message, President Donald Trump hailed her as an advocate of the American family. He said, amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.
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Study in India Programme launched
• Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh jointly launched the Study in India programme of HRD Ministry by launching the ‘Study in India’ portal.
• Study in India Portal will be a single window to cover all aspects relating to studying in India for foreign students.
• The website will not only provide information on the latest offerings on Indian education but also facilitate admissions to the foreign students and help them make informed choices based on individual aptitudes and career goals.
New app developed to help track diabetes in Rural India
• Researchers have developed an innovative smartphone app ‘Smart Health’ to enable ‘ASHA’ community health workers track the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes in the rural areas.
• The health workers will be trained to identify people suffering from diabetes or are at high risk of the disease in the rural communities.
• ASHAs will then offer them lifestyle and diet advice and refer them to a doctor for drug treatment.
Gujarat launches magazine on hemophilia to spread awareness
• On the occasion of World Haemophilia Day on April 17, 2018, Gujarat launched 'Haemophilia Jagruti, a magazine to spread awareness about haemophilia, a hereditary and genetic disorder that impairs the body's ability to control blood clotting.
• The magazine aims to share knowledge and the research being done on Hemophilia that affects over 6000 people in the state.
• There are over 16000 registered patients of haemophilia across the country.
Miguel Diaz-Canel elected as Cuba's new president
• Miguel Diaz-Canel was formally named as the new President of Cuba on April 19, 2018.
• Canel would be succeeding Raul Castro in a historic handover that ends the six-decade rule by the Castro brothers.
• The 57-year-old, who was the only candidate for the presidency, was elected for a five-year term with 603 out of 604 possible votes in the National Assembly.
Jim Bridenstine becomes new NASA Chief in a close vote
• The US Senate has narrowly confirmed Jim Bridenstine, President Donald Trump's pick to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in a 50-49 vote.
• Bridgestone, US Navy veteran and former pilot, will become the 13th administrator of NASA.
• The 42-year-old has expressed an interest in returning humans back to the moon, spoken of closer ties between NASA and the commercial space industry and has voiced skepticism about human-caused climate change.
• He was a strong supporter of Trump during the 2016 presidential race.
Syria returns to France the prestigious Legion d'honneur
• Syria has returned to France the prestigious Legion d'honneur presented to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
• The award was returned to France through the Romanian embassy in Damascus.
• President Assad was decorated with the highest class of the award, the Grand Croix, in 2001 after he took power following the death of his father.
• The move comes days after France said a disciplinary procedure for withdrawing the award was under way.
• France recently joined the US and Britain in bombing Syrian targets over an alleged chemical weapons attack.