PM Modi’s visit to Sweden: India-Sweden Joint Action Plan and List of MoUs signed
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Sweden on April 16-17, 2018 at the invitation of Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Prime Minister.
During the visit, both the sides also hosted the ‘India-Nordic Summit: Shared Values, Mutual Prosperity’ on April 17, 2018. The summit was attended by all Nordic Prime Ministers- PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark, PM Juha Sipila of Finland, PM Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland and PM Erna Solberg of Norway.
India and Sweden also adopted a Joint Action Plan to promote bilateral cooperation.
SC stays NGT declaration of Amarnath shrine as ‘silence zone’
The Supreme Court of India on April 16, 2018 struck down the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that had declared the Amarnath cave shrine as a ‘silence zone’ and prohibited religious offerings such as chanting of hymns and ringing bells beyond the entry point.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta stayed the NGT order while hearing a plea filed by the Amarnath Shrine Board against the order on the ground that a decision in a case could not be based on grounds outside the pleading of the parties. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had on December 13, 2017 declared the eco-sensitive Amarnath cave shrine as a ‘silence zone’.
Over 95 percent of world's population breathing unhealthy air: State of Global Air Report 2018
As per the State of Global Air Report 2018, over seven billion people that account for more than 95 percent of the world's population are breathing unhealthy air and live in areas of unsafe air.
As per the report, long-term contact to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths globally in 2016. Most of those affected with air pollution, live in low and middle income nations in Asia where they are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. This combined exposure led to one in four air pollution deaths in India and nearly one in five in China. India and China were jointly responsible for over 50 percent of global deaths due to air pollution.
NASA launches CHESS mission to study matter between stars
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on April 17, 2018 successfully launched Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS 4) from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The CHESS mission would mainly focus on these floating interstellar reservoirs or translucent clouds of gas, which provide the fundamental building blocks for the stars and planets. The clouds are known to have very low densities and the only way to study them is to measure how a cloud is affected by a star and its associated outpouring of stellar material, the stellar wind -moving through it.
Union Environment Ministry releases the draft of National Clean Air Programme
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on April 17, 2018 released the draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The ministry has put up the draft on its website and invited comments from various stakeholders by May 17, 2018.
NCAP aims to enhance and develop an effective and a proficient network to monitor the ambient air quality across the country for a comprehensive and reliable database. The plan calls for an efficient data distribution and public outreach mechanism for timely measures to prevent and mitigate air pollution. It also aims to have a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.