1. The Reporters without Borders (RSF) on April 18, 2019, released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists. This year, the index has been topped by Norway again for the third year, followed by Finland and Sweden at second and third positions, respectively.
2. India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year. As per the Index, one of the most striking features of the current state of press freedom in India is violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, criminal groups, and corrupt politicians.
3. Gagandeep Kang has become first Indian woman scientists selected for Fellow of Royal Society (FRS), London. She is the first Indian woman scientist getting selected as FRS in 358 years of history of this prestigious scientific academy.
4. The Supreme Court of India on April 18, 2019, directed that mental illness of people on death row, if developed post-conviction, would now be a mitigating factor for appellate courts for sparing them from the gallows.
5. Nepal has successfully launched its first satellite NepaliSat-1 into space from Virginia in the United States. The satellite was developed by the Nepalese scientists. NepaliSat-1 is a low orbit satellite. The launch of the satellite was initiated under the BIRDS project of the Japanese Kyushu Institute of Technology.
6. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that astronaut Christina Koch is going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days. She would set a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, breaking the old one of 288 days set by retired astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17.
7. Jaideep Sarkar has been appointed as India’s next High Commissioner to South Africa. External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi that he is expected to take up the assignment shortly. Sarkar, a 1987-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently serving as India’s ambassador in Bhutan. He served in Indian Missions in Tokyo, Seoul, and Bangladesh as well.
8. 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan were awarded medals of honor for their supreme dedication and sacrifices in Malakal, South Sudan. Indian Horizontal Mobility Engineering Company had completed the renovation of 145 km of roadway connecting Bentiu and Leer in South Sudan.
9. Amazon is planning to close down online retail operations catering to consumers in China, in an apparent admission of defeat to local e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba.
10. INS Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to participate in the International Fleet Review in Qingdao, China as part of 70th Anniversary celebrations of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy). International Fleet Review (IFR) is a parade of naval ships, aircraft, and submarines, and organized by nations to promote goodwill, strengthen cooperation and showcase their organizational capabilities.
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