News for 25-Apr (Tuesday)
1.     New "joint doctrine" by the Armed forces- The armed forces have formulated a new "joint doctrine" to ensure the Army, Navy and IAF plan and work together to effectively tackle the entire spectrum of conflict, ranging from full blown conventional wars to irregular and hybrid warfare, in the years ahead. The doctrine is likely to be released formally in the last week of April 2017.The doctrine chart out a broad framework of principles for joint planning and the need to build an integrated land-air-sea-cyberspace war-fighting machinery. It will also "signals" the intent of the Indian armed forces to the world at large.  

Death sentence to Indian National by Pakistan Military Court- Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian national arrested in Baluchistan, Pakistan, on charges of terrorism and spying  has been sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has accused that he was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan & has links with Indian intelligence agency. The Indian government has clearly stated that Jadhav has no links with any Indian intelligence agency, and is a former naval officer who took premature retirement & involved in private business. He was possibly abducted from Iran & falsely implicated by Pakistan. Indian government has asked for his early release.

Jal Marg Vikas Project-The World Bank has approved a loan of $375 million (around Rs 2,421 crore) for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (NW-1) between Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on the river Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).Jal Marg Vikas Project is a project on the river Ganga that envisages the development of waterway between Allahabad and Haldia that will cover a distance of 1620 km. It aims to develop a fairway with three metres depth to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500 tonne vessels on the river.  The project includes the development of fairway, multi-modal terminals, strengthening of open river navigation technique, conservancy works & modern River Information System (RIS) etc.

Charging of Service Charge from Consumers by Hotels and Restaurants- Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs has approved the ‘Guidelines on Fair Trade Practices related to Charging of Service Charge from Consumers by Hotels and Restaurants’. As a part of the guidelines which has been issued in public interest to protect the rights of consumers, the government has said that Service charge on hotel and restaurant bills is “totally voluntary”, adding that mandatory levy of service charge amounts to unfair trade practice. As per the guidelines, Hotels and restaurants cannot decide on service charge and the column of service charge will be left blank in the bill for the customers to fill up before making payment.

Exemption to six categories of disabled people from standing when the national anthem is played - The Supreme Court has granted an exemption to six categories of disabled people from standing when the national anthem is played before the screening of a film in theatres. The six categories include people suffering from cerebral palsy, Parkinson disease, muscular dystrophy and other categories of disability. The order comes at the backdrop of reported incidents of people with disabilities facing the wrath of people trying to enforce patriotism during the national anthem

6.     Freight train connecting Russia with China - A freight train connecting Russia with China arrived in Ganzhou, an inland city in Jiangxi province, carrying goods from Moscow. The freight train travelled more than 7,000 km, before reaching Ganzhou in eastern China. The train connecting Russia and China is expected to bring resources from Europe and boost local development. Recently in Jan 2017, China inaugurated a new train service to London traversing over 12,000 kilometers across in 18 days. China is all set to gain heavily from opening the ancient trade routes and strengthening connectivity with Europe. It is also likely to enhance regional cooperation in countries that lie along the Silk route  

Retaliation to Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh-China has unilaterally announced ‘standardised’ names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh. It is felt that Chinese move comes as a retaliation against Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Experts feel that China’s announcement is aimed at reaffirming its territorial sovereignty over the region.During the recent visit of Dalai Lama toArunachal Pradesh, ‘Union minister of state for home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, had categorically asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable and integral part of India.

Pakistan Leases Gwadar port to a State-run Chinese firm for 40 years- Pakistan has leased the operations of its strategic Gwadar port to a State-run Chinese firm, the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a period of 40 years. COPHC is slated to carry out all the developmental work on the port situated in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. COPHC took over the operations of the port in 2013. Previously, the control of the Gwadar port was with Singapore’s PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) International.Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf just outside the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. It features as the southern Pakistan hub of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan.

Madhesi parties Unite in Nepal-Five prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal have united to form a new united party named the Rastriya Janata Party, which will be the fifth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament. Interestingly the word “Madhes” has not been included in the new party’s name. This announcement of unification has come ahead of elections to local government bodies scheduled on 14thMay 17.

10.  Australia has abolished the 457 Visa Program- Australia has abolished the 457 Visa Program used by thousands of temporary foreign workers, a majority of them Indians to address growing unemployment in that country. Instead, Australia wants to adopt ‘Australians first’ approach to skilled migration.

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