Tunisia prepares for first free municipal elections
• Millions of Tunisians will head to the polls on May 6, 2018 for their first free municipal elections.
• The move is seen as another milestone on the road to democracy in the nation, which was the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
• The polls come seven years after mass protests toppled the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
• Around five million voters are eligible to vote, with about 57,000 candidates standing across 350 municipalities.
• Tunisia is seen as a rare success story of the Arab Spring compared to other nations shaken by similar uprisings such as Libya and Yemen, which are still deep in turmoil.
• The municipal polls will be followed by legislative and presidential votes in 2019.
Dakota aircraft joins IAF again
• A restored Dakota aircraft has joined the Indian Air Force more than four decades after the fleet was phased out following an illustrious service record.
• The Dakota DC-3 VP 905 was formally inducted at a grand ceremony held at Hindan air force station on May 4.
• The aircraft was flown back to India from UK by a joint crew of IAF and Reflight Airworks.
• During its journey, the aircraft flew a total of 9750 km and made en-route halts in France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Bahrain and Oman.
• According to an official statement, the historic flight across seven countries was a commemoration of the service provided by the venerable aircraft to the nation.
• The Dakota, popularly known as the Gooney Bird, was the first major transport aircraft inducted in the Indian Air Force.
• It was at the forefront of operations from 1947 to 1971.
Nobel Prize in Literature will not be awarded this year
• The Swedish Academy on May 4, 2018 announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be not awarded this year following the sex-abuse allegations and other issues within its ranks that have stained the body’s reputation.
• The decision was taken in view of the reduced public confidence in the Academy. However, the 2018 prize will be given in 2019.
• It is the first time since 1943 that the prestigious award will not handed over.
Sajid Javid replaces Amber Rudd as Home Secretary of UK
• Pakistani-origin MP Sajid Javid was appointed Britain’s new Home Secretary to replace Amber Rudd, who resigned after admitting that she had “inadvertently misled” Parliament over the existence of deportation targets for immigrants.
• Javid was promoted from his Cabinet post of Communities, Local Government and Housing minister.
• Javid , a former investment banker, is the Conservative party MP for Bromsgrove and has previously held business and culture portfolios in the UK government.
RBI eases External borrowing norms to enable cheaper funds
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) liberalised External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) Policy by including more sectors in the window to facilitate cheaper access of overseas funds to Indian companies.
• RBI has stipulated uniform, all-in cost ceiling of 450 basis points (bps) over benchmark rate, which, in most cases, is six-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).
• RBI has decided to increase ECB Liability to Equity Ratio for ECB raised from direct foreign equity holder under automatic route to 7:1.
World’s oldest spider discovered in Australia
• Scientists have discovered what may be the world’s oldest recorded spider – a 43-year-old arachnid in Australia.
• The Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch died recently during a long-term population study and had outlived the previous world record holder, a 28-year old tarantula found in Mexico.
• The ongoing research has led to new discoveries about the longevity of the trapdoor spider.
India-China border trade resumes via Nathu La Pass
• The India-China border bilateral trade for the year 2018 resumed on May 1, 2018 through the Nathu La border with the exchange of gifts between both the sides.
• The trade was disrupted in 2017 following the Doklam standoff.
• In 2016-2017, goods worth Rs 3.54 crore were traded via Nathu La, the Sino-Indian border.
Shooter Shahzar Rizvi becomes world no.1 in 10m air pistol
• World record holder Shahzar Rizvi has risen to the top of the world rankings in men's 10m air pistol in the latest International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) charts.
• With 1654 rating points, Rizvi shot to the top spot ahead of Russia’s Artem Chernousov (1046) and Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda (803).
• The other Indian in the top 10 is Jitu Rai, who is placed sixth, while Om Prakash Mitharval is placed 12th.
• The Indian Air Force man had won a gold in the first ISSF World Cup stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, in March 2018 with a world record score of 242.3 in the finals.
• He also grabbed a silver medal in the just-concluded World Cup in Changwon, Korea.
EPFO Introduces ‘View Pension Passbook’ Service for pensioners
• The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which is providing a host of e-services for its stakeholders, has now introduced a new service - ‘View Pension Passbook’ service through ‘UMANG app’.
• On clicking ‘View Passbook’ option, the pensioners would be required to enter the PPO Number and date of birth information.
• After successful validation of the information, an OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number of the pensioner.
• On entering OTP, the ‘Pensioner Passbook’ will display the details of the pensioner like name, DOB along with last pension credited information.
• The facility to download the financial year wise complete pass book details will also be made available.
India and France conduct final phase of Varuna naval exercise near Reunion Island
• Indian and French navies conducted final and third phase of Varuna naval exercise 2018 near Reunion Island in Indian Ocean region (IOR).
• In the final phase, both navies simulated different possible scenarios such as asymmetric warfare and tested their air defence capabilities.
• 2018 Varuna naval exercise between Indian and French Navy was conducted in three phases and included anti-submarine, air defence and asymmetric engagement exercises.