CJI is first among equals, will decide allocation of cases: SC
• The Supreme Court ruled on April 11, 2018 that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the ‘first among equals’ and has the constitutional authority to decide allocation of cases and setting up of benches to hear them.
• A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud ruled this while dismissing a PIL seeking framing of guidelines for rational and transparent allocation of cases and constitution of benches to hear them.
• The PIL was filed in the backdrop of the January 12, 2018 press conference by senior-most apex court judges- J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.
Ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth becomes World No 1
• Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became World number 1 in men’s singles category after Badminton World Federation updated its weekly rankings on April 12, 2018.
• He overtook World Champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of rankings with 76,895 points.
• Srikanth has now become the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the feat in modern ranking system.
• He joins Saina Nehwal to become only the second Indian to achieve the feat.
• Twenty-five year old Srikanth had missed out on the chance to become No. 1 in the world last year after suffering an injury.
India ranked 130 in Economic Freedom Index
• India was ranked at 130th spot in the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom, which was released by a top American think-tank the Heritage Foundation.
• India has jumped up 13 places in this year’s ranking. In 2017, India with a score of 52.6 points was ranked at 143 among 180 countries.
• As per the latest Index of Economic Freedom, China has jumped one spot and Pakistan is now at the 131st position. China with 57.4 points was ranked 111 in the 2017.
• The report said Economic liberalisation measures, including industrial deregulation, privatisation of state-owned enterprises and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, that began in the early 1990s, accelerated growth.
• The report also mentioned that Corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment, and poor financial and budget management continue to undermine overall development.
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban wins new term
• Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on April 8, 2018 claimed a landslide victory in the nation’s general election.
• Orban will serve a third consecutive term in office, with his party Fidesz projected to keep its key two-thirds majority in parliament.
• Hungary's National Election Office stated that Fidesz party has won almost half of the vote, with 93 percent of ballots counted.
• Meanwhile, leaders of the second and third-placed parties have resigned in light of the result.
Indian Air Force conducts war exercise Gagan Shakti
• An all-encompassing war exercise named Gagan-shakti was launched by the Indian Air Force on April 8, 2018. The two-week exercise would conclude on April 22.
• The main aim of the exercise is real time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in a short and intense battle scenario.
• During the exercise, Indian Air Force will put into force its entire machinery to validate its concept of operations and war waging capability.
• The exercise is aimed at coordinating operations, maintenance and administrative responses to achieve the stated objectives of the Indian Air Force, in case of any contingency.
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1,200-year-old Buddhist carvings found in Tibet
• Around 1200 year-old Buddhist cliff carvings have been found in Tibet that may offer a glimpse into Buddhist art and local history.
• According to the regional cultural relics protection research institute, the discoveries dating back to the Tibetan Tubo Kingdom were found in Acur township of Qamdo city.
• The relics of the Buddha figure carvings were first found by construction workers who were mining for stones.
• The carvings are inscribed on cliffs that stretch some 10 metres in total.
• Experts believe that the carvings were created in the 9th century, based on their style.
FSSAI launches initiative to address Vitamin D deficiency
• The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on April 9, 2018 launched 'Project Dhoop', which is an initiative aimed at shifting the school assembly time to noon to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight.
• The project was launched at National Bal Bhavan in New Delhi and saw participation of around 600 students from NCERT, NDMC and North MCD Schools.
• Schools across the country have been sent two advisories, which asks them to hold daily assembly between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
• Project Dhoop's Noon Assembly is an innovative and effective concept to ensure that school students get adequate Vitamin D through sunlight, while also opting to choose food products like milk and edible oils that are fortified with Vitamins A and D.
Dalit groups to observe 14 April as Protect Constitution Day
• Indian Dalit organisations on April 12, 2018 announced to observe 14 April, the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, as the Protect Constitution Day.
• These groups have also demanded that the Union government should immediately bring an ordinance to restore the original Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
• They also urged for the inclusion of the Act in the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to ensure that there can’t be any more revisions in the Act.
NHAI signs agreement for its First International Project
• The National Highways Authority of India on April 12, 2018 signed an agreement for upgradation of Yagyi – Kalewa section of highway in Myanmar to two lanes with earthen shoulder.
• The project will be funded by the Union Ministry of External Affairs and will be executed on EPC mode at a cost of Rs 1177 crores.
• It will provide seamless vehicular movement for enhancing trade, business, health, education and tourism between Indian, Myanmar and Thailand.
• The project will be completed in three years.
China bans exports of dual-use items to North Korea
• China has banned the export to North Korea of some items with potential dual-use in weapons of mass destruction.
• The Chinese Ministry of Commerce gave details of 32 materials, technologies and forms of equipment with potential use related to weapons of mass destruction, including particle accelerators and centrifuges.
• In addition, it outlined bans on items with potential dual-use in conventional weapons.
• The announcement of the export bans comes amid a tightening of exports from China to North Korea.