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- Ethiopia on October 25, 2018 appointed diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as its first-ever female President. She would be replacing Mulatu Teshome Wirtu who resigned on October 24. Prior to her appointment, she was serving as the UN’s top official at the African Union. She is now expected to serve two six-year terms as President. The 60-year-old has previously served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
- The Supreme Court of India on October 23, 2018 decided not to impose a blanket ban on the sale and manufacture of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The SC bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan permitted the sale and manufacture of green and low emission crackers alone. The court also ordered a ban on the online sale of firecrackers and put a restraint on e-commerce portals from selling them. The apex court has also fixed a time limit for the bursting of the crackers. On Diwali, people will only be allowed to burn crackers between 8 pm and 10 pm. The time limit for New Year and Christmas has been set from 11:45 pm to 12:15 am. The court has directed the Central Pollution Control Board to monitor air quality 7 days before and 7 days after Diwali.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the setting up of Indian Institute of Skills (IISs) at different locations across the country in Public Private Partnership (PPP). The setting up of IISs is expected to augment the global competitiveness of key sectors of Indian economy by providing high quality skill training, applied research education and a direct and meaningful connection with industry.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Certified Professional Accountants Afghanistan (CPA Afghanistan). Afghanistan will help India and ICAI to facilitate indirect employment generation for Indian CAs through recognition and acceptability amongst Afghanistan employers.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa, regarding cooperation in the social and labour sphere. The MoU was signed on August 3, 2018 during BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers (LEM) Meeting. The member countries may utilise the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutes and BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework for cooperation on social security and other labour issues.
- The Madras High Court on October 25, 2018 upheld the disqualification of 18 MLAs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) loyal to sidelined leader TTV Dinakaran, who formed his own party ‘Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam’ (AMMK). Resultantly, by-elections will be held in the state for the 18 seats represented by these disqualified MLAs. Presently, the Palaniswami government stays above the halfway mark of 116. In the 234-member state Assembly, besides these 18 seats, two seats are vacant presently. The current strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly is 216.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 24, 2018 gave its approval for the creation of a special Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF). The fund size is estimated to be around Rs 7,522 crore. It aims to boost fish production and help achieve the target of producing 15 million tonnes of fish by 2020, which was set under the Blue Revolution. It will also support the government’s aim to achieve sustainable growth of 8 -9 per cent and thereafter take the fish production to the level of about 20 million tonnes by 2022-23.
- India’s first ‘Made in India’ engineless train ‘Train 18’is set to hit the tracks for trials on October 29, 2018. The Train 18 will be tested at a speed of 180 km per hour. It will feature a stainless steel body, with full scape windows and driver’s cabin at both ends of the train. Train 18 is driven by a self-propulsion module without a separate locomotive. The superior 16-coach model of the train has been developed by the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in time span of just 18 months. Train 18 is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.
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