1. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow
• Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Moscow for a state visit to Russia and the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
• Xi will have talks in the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin before attending a formal reception.
• The visit comes five years after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a serious rift with its Western partners and subsequent turn toward its neighbour to the east.
• The three-day visit to Russia marks a new era of friendship and reinforce economic ties that had benefited from Moscow’s isolation from the West.
• From Moscow, Xi will travel to Russia’s former imperial capital Saint Petersburg to attend the Economic Forum hosted by Putin on Thursday and Friday.
• The partnership is yielding rising trade, which has increased by 25 percent in 2018 to hit a record 108 billion dollars. During an interview with Russian media ahead of the visit, Xi said that China is Russia’s most important economic partner. He also said that both countries would also discuss their relationship with the great Western powers, including the United States.
2. US lawmakers introduce resolution condemning increasing human rights violations in China
• In the US, top lawmakers introduced a resolution in the Senate yesterday to recognise the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China.
• The resolution condemns the increasing repression and human rights violations by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
• It calls on the Chinese Government to invite full and independent investigations into the Tiananmen Square massacre by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
• Thousands of people, mostly students were believed to have been killed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989, while demanding democracy. The massive square became famous all over the world with an iconic picture of a young man standing before a row of battle tanks.
• The resolution also calls on China to release all political prisoners, including prisoners held because of their participation in the Tiananmen Square protest.
• House Majority Leader Steny H Hoyer said the Chinese government continues to engage in a systematic repression of Muslims, Tibetans, other ethnic minorities and political dissidents. He added that the US must use its relationship with China to push for the human rights and freedom of its people.
3. Sudan’s pro-democracy opposition urges ‘Total Civil Disobedience’
• Sudan’s protest movement has called for fresh rallies and rejected the military rulers’ election plan after nearly 40 people were killed in what demonstrators called a “bloody massacre” by security forces.
• Yesterday, protest leaders called on their supporters to take part in “total civil disobedience” to topple the ruling military council following the deadly dispersal Monday of a weeks-long sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.
• The Transitional Military Council ousted veteran president Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his authoritarian rule and had agreed a three-year transition period to a civilian administration.
• But army ruler General Abel Fattah al-Burhan said the plan had been ditched and an election would take place under regional and international supervision.
4. UN Security Council meets on Sudan crisis
• The UN Security Council met behind closed doors yesterday to discuss the crisis in Sudan after Khartoum’s military rulers announced plans to hold elections following a crackdown that killed nearly 40 people.
• Germany and Britain requested the urgent talks amid international alarm over the violence in Khartoum where security forces broke up weeks of protests against military rule.
• The German diplomat dismissed a plan by Sudan’s military council to conduct elections within nine months, arguing that conditions were not in place for holding nationwide polls.
• The military council has ruled the country since the ouster of President Omar Al Bashir on April 11, following months of protests against his authoritarian rule.
• UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the use of excessive force by Sudan’s security agents and said he was “alarmed” by reports that forces had opened fire inside a hospital.
5. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani pledges to release 887 prisoners
• Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today pledged to release nearly 900 inmates from prisons across Afghanistan. During an address to the nation for Eid, Mr Ghani said 887 inmates would be set free.
• The President did not say what offences the prisoners had committed or whether they were members of the Taliban.
• Mr Ghani had proposed a nationwide ceasefire at the start of Ramadan early last month, but the Taliban rejected the offer.
6. Theresa May marks last press meet with message of compromise for Trump
• British Prime Minister Theresa May marked her last major official press conference yesterday with a message of cooperation and compromise for US President Donald Trump in London. Mr Trump is on a three-day state visit to the UK.
• Ms May is set to formally resign as the Prime Minister on Friday. During a joint press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with Mr Trump, she addressed him by his first name at several points to reiterate points of difference between the two leaders.
• The British Prime Minister said they discussed again the importance of the two nations working together to address Iran’s destabilising activity in the region and to ensure Tehran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.
• During his press statement, Mr Trump went on to repeat his reference to wanting a “phenomenal” trade deal with the UK, suggesting it could double or treble trade once the UK had left the European Union. He lamented that May had not received the “credit she deserves” for her leadership in the Brexit negotiations.
7. Italy’s Mount Etna volcano has erupted again
• Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most frequently erupting volcanoes. It is also the volcano with the longest record of continuous eruption.
• Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily in Italy, Mount Etna is 10,900 feet tall.
• The mountain’s largest feature is the Valle del Bove (Valley of the Ox), a large horseshoe-shaped caldera on the eastern slope.
• Etna sits on the active fault between the African plate and the Ionian microplate, which are both being subducted together beneath the Eurasian plate.
• In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations
8. Everyone should take responsibility for water conservation: Gajendra Shekhawat
• Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has stressed on the need for a peoples’ movement for protection of environment and conservation of water.
• He was speaking at an event organized by National Mission for Clean Ganga to celebrate World Environment Day.
• Mr Shekhawat said, each and every individual should take responsibility for the crucial issue of water conservation and river rejuvenation.
• He said, the government’s efforts alone will not be enough in this regard. Mr Shekhawat said, living in harmony with nature and worshipping its various elements has always been an integral part of the culture.
• The Minister added that the commitment shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cleaning of River Ganga since the launch of Namami Gange programme in 2014 has been remarkable.
• He added that a lot has been achieved in this regard and the Jal Shakti Ministry will take the work forward.
9. 2nd Global Disability Summit
• Social Justice and Empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot has left for Buenos Aires in Argentina to participate in 2nd Global Disability Summit.
• The objective of the three-day summit is to deliberate on issues across the world concerning empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and to work out a mechanism for enabling them to live an independent and dignified life.
• The Government of Argentina Republic, the International Alliance Disability (IDA) and the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS) are pleased to announce that they are hosting “Disability Summit, Argentina 2019 “, which will take place in Buenos Aires, between June 6 and 8, 2019.
• This will be a follow-up to the first “Global Disability Summit”, held in London in 2018; and seeks to strengthen the commitment of Latin America and the world to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities and guarantee their rights, freedoms and human dignity.
• The Summit represents an opportunity to reflect on the formulation and strengthening of public policies and good practices in the different discussion panels, with the voices of people with disabilities to be at the forefront. The Summit will also be an opportunity to share, consolidate the contribution of Latin America to this global space of exchange and reiterate commitments made in the Latin America region for the rights of persons with disabilities.
• As a result, the Summit will bring together governments, organizations of people with disabilities, civil society organizations, international organizations, international cooperation agencies, academia and the private sector, with the hope of achieving real change for people with disabilities.
10. Telangana government releases Rs 6,900 cr for Rythu Bandhu scheme
• The Telangana government has released Rs 6,900 crore for the Rythu Bandhu scheme for Kharif season. An order has been passed to agriculture department.
• As assured, the government enhanced the Rythu Bandhu scheme Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per acre and decided to release funds in the view of ensuing Kharif season.
• However, the government has not announced the date of funds release as the election code is in place. The dates will be announced by the government after the MPP and ZP chairman election i.e, on May 7 and 8.
11. Preparations for seventh Economic Census underway
• Preparations are underway for the seventh Economic Census, (7th EC) likely to commence by the end of June or the early next month.
• In the run-up to the field work to be undertaken by the enumerators across the country, several activities have been planned by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, (MoSPI). Training of trainers at the state level is an integral component of this massive exercise.
A Workshop for State Level Training of Trainers on 7th Economic Census for NCT of Delhi will be held tomorrow.
• Economic Census is the complete count of all establishment located within the geographical boundary of the country. In the current Economic Census, MoSPI has partnered with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as the implementing agency.
• In the 7th EC, an IT-based digital platform for data capture, validation, report generation and dissemination will be used. The results of the exercise will be made available after the verification and validation of the field work.
• The 7th EC will cover all establishments including household enterprises, engaged in production or distribution of goods or services in the non-farm agricultural and non-agricultural sector will be counted. The coverage is the same as the one in the 6th Economic Census, conducted in 2013.
• Six Economic Censuses, (EC) have been conducted by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation till date.
12. Rajasthan government increases financial aid given to girls under ‘Aapki Beti’ scheme
• The Rajasthan government on Thursday, on May 30, 2019, increased the financial assistance given to school girls under the ‘Aapki Beti’ scheme and ex-gratia payment to the families of polling personnel who die during election duty.
• Under the Aapki Beti scheme, girls living under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and whose mother or father or both have died get annual financial assistance in the state.
• The amount has been increased to 2,100 from Rs 1,100 for the girls studying in class 1 to 8 and for the girls in class 9 to 12, the financial aid has been increased to Rs 2,500 from Rs 1,500, according to an official release.
• Similarly, the government has also increased ex-gratia payment to the next of kin of an official killed on election duty to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 15 lakh, it stated.
13. National Education Policy
• Following the protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Maharashtra, the Human Resource Development has revised draft of the National Education Policy.
• The draft of National Education Policy had suggested the inclusion of Hindi in all the non-Hindi speaking states in the country. This had given rise to a controversy over the draft version which was seen by many in the southern states as an attempt to impose Hindi on school students.
• The updated draft retains the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1, merely having removed the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose.
• As per the update, the draft says “students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.”
• Ever since the Constitution adopted Hindi as the official language, with English also as an official language for 15 years initially, there has been considerable tension between those who favour the indefinite usage of English and those who want to phase it out and give Hindi primacy.
• The imposition of Hindi – In Tamil Nadu, it is seen as a creeping imposition of Hindi in subtle and not-so-subtle forms.
• The tension has been managed based on the statesmanship behind Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance in 1959 that English would be an associate language as long as there are States that desire it.
14. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
• Reversing his predecessor’s orders, Andhra Prdesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go ahead with investigations and raids in the State without prior permission of the State government.
• The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments, had last year, withdrawn “general consent” to the CBI for investigating cases in their respective states. The state governments said they had lost faith in the CBI in the backdrop of its internal turmoil marked by the open war among the agency’s top officers. They had also alleged that the Centre is using the CBI to unfairly target Opposition parties.
• Unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by its own NIA Act and has jurisdiction across the country, the CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state.
• case-specific and general– Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.
• “General consent” is normally given to help the CBI seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state. Almost all states have given such consent. Otherwise, the CBI would require consent in every case.
• It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person stationed in these two states without getting case-specific consent. Withdrawal of consent simply means that CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.
• In exercise of power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the state governments can withdraw the general consent accorded. Section 6 of the Act says, “Nothing contained in Section 5 (which deals with jurisdiction of CBI) shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union Territory or Railway, area, without the consent of the Government of that State.”
15. Australian Open
• In Badminton, India had a good day at the Australian Open in Sydney today. In singles, top shuttlers P.V Sindhu, Sameer Verma and B.Sai Praneeth progressed to the second round.
• In Men’s Doubles, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty progressed to the second round.
• However, the duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to Korean combination of Baek Ha Na and Kim Hye Rin, in Women’s Doubles.