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 1. Government officials had inputs about Easter Sunday attacks

 
Sri Lanka’s head of State Intelligence Service (SIS) has said that government intelligence and defence officials were aware of intelligence inputs about Easter Sunday attacks but nothing was done to prepare for it. 
SIS head Sisira Mendis told a parliament select committee that his office received a letter on April 7 containing details of a possible bomb threat and he brought it to notice of defense secretary next day. 
He said that he went to both the head of defence and the nation’s police chief but no one followed up with his request to prioritize the threat. 
Mr. Mendis said it was never the main point for discussion among the officials with the power to act on the threat. 
Sri Lankan government has accepted the failure to act on inputs from Indian intelligence about possible attacks. 
The country’s defence secretary was removed and police chief sent on compulsory leave following the attacks which killed 258 people including 45 foreigners. 
Police chief Pujith Jayasundara, who was sent on compulsory leave filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court against the decision. 
Mr. Jayasundera pointed out that the decision was totally unconstitutional and said that the President had no authority to send him on compulsory leave as per the police ordinance and the existing law.
 
2. US-UAE defense agreement comes into force
 
The United States and the United Arab Emirates have announced that mutual defence cooperation agreement (DCA) has come into force, amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran. 
DCA will enhance military coordination between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, further advancing an already robust military, political, and economic partnership at a critical time. 
It said the United States and the United Arab Emirates share a deep interest in promoting prosperity and stability in the region. 
The DCA will advance that interest by fostering closer collaboration on defence and security matters and supporting efforts by both nations to maintain security in the Gulf region. 
US national security advisor John Bolton was in Abu Dhabi, meeting his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
This came on the eve of emergency Arab and Gulf summits called by Saudi Arabia to discuss the stand-off and ways to isolate Tehran.
 
3. US removes India from its currency monitoring list
 
The Trump administration removed India from its currency monitoring list of major trading partners. It cited certain developments and steps being taken by New Delhi which address some of its major concerns.
Switzerland is the other nation that has been removed by the US from its currency monitoring list. The list includes other countries like China, Japan and Germany.
India has been removed from the monitoring list in the latest semi-annual report on macroeconomic and foreign exchange policies of major trading partners of the US. The Treasury Department reasoned that India had met only one out of three criteria - a significant bilateral surplus with the US - for two consecutive reports.
After purchasing foreign exchange on net in 2017, the central bank steadily sold reserves for most of 2018, with net sales of foreign exchange reaching 1.7 per cent of GDP over the year.
The report added that  India maintains ample reserves according to the IMF metrics for reserve adequacy.
In both Switzerland and India, there was a notable decline in 2018 in the scale and frequency of foreign exchange purchases, the report observed.
India for the first time was placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies in May 2018 along with five other countries - China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, even as it still kept China on a list of countries whose trade surpluses with the US and other indicators are closely tracked, the administration once again refused to label China as a currency manipulator.
 
4. International Day of UN Peacekeepers
 
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is being observed. 
The objective is to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution by the uniformed and civilian personnel and to honour more than 3,800 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while rendering peacekeeping services. 
The theme this year is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said peacekeeping is a necessity and a hope for millions in conflict-affected situations around the world. 
He called on UN member States to work together to make peacekeeping more effective in protecting people and advancing peace. 
Over the past 20 years, protection of civilians has increasingly been at the heart of UN peacekeeping.
The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29th May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East. 
Since then, more than one million men and women have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people, protecting the world’s most vulnerable and saving countless lives. India is the 4th largest troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions.  
UN peacekeeping has helped countries move from war to peace. At present, India contributes about 6,400 peacekeepers to various missions across the world. 
The country has the largest percentage of women in the police force, at around 32 per cent, contribution to the future of peacekeeping.
 
5. Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected as president of South Africa
 
South African lawmakers have re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the country.
Members of Parliament from the African National Congress have chosen the head of state in the parliament`s first post-election sitting.
The party won 230 out of 400 seats in the election on May 8. 
The African National Congress party won the ballot with 57.5 per cent of the vote, its thinnest majority since the end of apartheid.
Ramaphosa will be sworn in and name a deputy president and cabinet at the weekend. 
 
6. Six die in election rioting in Jakarta
 
In Indonesia, six people have died in election rioting in the capital Jakarta, as supporters of the losing presidential candidate General Prabowo Subianto burned vehicles and battled police and the government announced restrictions on social media.
Official sources said, the clashes began last night when supporters of  Subianto tried to force their way into the downtown offices of the election supervisory agency and have continued unabated since then. 
More than two dozen vehicles were burned as rioters took over neighborhoods in central Jakarta, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.
Subianto, a volatile ultra-nationalist politician, has refused to accept the official results of the April 17 election and instead declared himself the winner. The Election Commission said President Joko Widodo had won 55.5 per cent of the vote. 
Subianto,also lost to Widodo in 2014. He has made four unsuccessful bids for the presidency since Suharto was ousted in 1998.
Rudiantara, the communications and information technology minister, said features of social media including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp will be restricted on a temporary basis to prevent the spread of hoaxes and inflammatory content.
National police chief, Tito Karnavian said the people who died in the rioting were hit by gunshots or blunt devices. 
Authorities are still investigating the death causes and are not ruling out the involvement of third parties acting as provocateurs. 
 
7. Facebook Registers New Fintech Firm in Switzerland
 
Facebook has set up a new financial technology company in Switzerland focusing on blockchain and payments as well as data analytics and investing.
Libra Networks, with Facebook Global Holdings as a stakeholder, was registered in Geneva on May 2.
Facebook registered the trademark “Libra” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in June, which was reportedly part of its secretive in-house crypto project.
 
8. UAE launches `Golden Card` scheme
 
The United Arab Emirates launched a permanent residency scheme to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents.
The "Golden Card" programme is open to investors and "exceptional talents" such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.
This move is expected to attract more Indian professionals and businessmen to the Gulf nation.
The first group of 6,800 investors from over 70 countries with investments totalling 100 billion dirhams (USD 27 billion) were being given permanent residency.
The benefits of the permanent residency also include the spouse and children of the cardholder to ensure cohesive social ties.
"Golden Card" visa categories include general investors who will be granted a 10-year visa, real estate investors, who can get a visa for five years, along with entrepreneurs and talented professionals such as doctors, researchers and innovators 10 years. 
The fifth category — outstanding students — will also be permitted residency visas for five years. All categories of visas can be renewed upon expiry. 
 

 

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