News for 22-April-2017 (Saturday)
1.    The government has decided to stand by the Army officer who took the decision to use an alleged stone-pelter as a "human shield" tied to a jeep to steer his unit and Jammu and Kashmir officials and paramilitary personnel on election duty to safety on 09 April.The trapped personnel included about a dozen local J&K employees, about 9-10 ITBP jawans, a couple of constables from J&K police and a bus driver.The government has taken note of an Army probe into the incident which concluded that the commanding officer took the decision reluctantly and as the last resort after he realised that his unit had to pass through streets crowded with a mob of stone-pelters

2.    The U.S. on April 13, 2017 dropped its biggest non-nuclear device, the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB), nickname the Mother Of All Bombs) on Islamic State targets in Afghanistan.The bomb was dropped using a Lockheed MC-130 transport plane. The bomb has been dropped to destroy a system of tunnels and caves used by the ISIS fighters. The strike was carried out with MOAB to maximize the destruction suffered by the IS fighters and their facilities as well as to minimize the risk for Afghan and US forces conducting cleaning operations in the area.

 3.    The Central government has asked some states to take up water conservation projects and give priority to drinking water. Also, states have been advised to control water consumption and promote the use of drip and sprinkler irrigation. Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, UP, Haryana, MP, HP, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh have been recognised as the most vulnerable states. Most of them fall in arid and semi-arid zones, have on spatial rains and low water storage in reservoirs and thereby a decline in water table.

 4.    The world has harvested the largest cereal crop in history in 2016-17 to a total of 2.6 billion metric tonnes as per UN-Food and Agriculture Organisation. India is also headed for a record production of cereals in the same year which as per advance government estimates is about 250 million tonnes. This is contrast to situation in Africa and Yemen where over 20 million people are facing starvation. 795 million people go to bed hungry every night of which 20 million are from India.

 5.    The Central government is planning a Ganga Patrol team comprising IPS officers, Army personnel, paramilitary forces and state police officers to raise Ganga Volunteer Force. It will be tasked to prevent pollution and desecration of the Holy river. The central force will patrol the entire stretch of the Ganga (2,525km) spread in five states namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal which are on the main stem of the river.

   6.    Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi has launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform from Nagpur. BHIM-Aadhaar platform is the merchant interface of the BHIM App that has been launched for making digital payments using the Aadhaar platform. BHIM App was launched in December 2016 to provide a one-stop solution for all digital payments. The App created a new world record by registering 1.9 crore downloads within four months since its launch. the newly launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform will help people to pay digitally using their biometric data like thumb imprint on a merchant’s biometric enabled device like a smart phone or a biometric reader.

7.    The government has directed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to share battery technology for mass production of Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre under ISRO has developed indigenous technology to manufacture high-power batteries for use in two- and three-wheelers and their feasibility tests conducted by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) was found to be successful. This development is expected to push India’s electric vehicles (EV) industry.

8. Nepal and China is all set to hold their first ever joint military exercise named ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017’ from April 17 to April 26. The 10 day long joint exercise will focus on combating terror and disaster management. Although, Nepal conducts joint exercises with other countries like India and United States, this is the first time it is holding a joint exercise with China.

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