Recommend: Times of India
US to restrict movement of Pakistani diplomats from May 1
• The United States has notified Pakistan that the diplomats at their embassy in Washington and at consulates in other cities would not be able to travel beyond 40 kilometres of their offices without permission from May 1, 2018.
• According to the notification, diplomats would need to apply for permission at least five days ahead of an intended travel outside the imposed 40-kilometre radius.
• Pakistan had already imposed similar restrictions on American diplomats in the country, who were not allowed to visit the tribal belt or Karachi.
• Islamabad however, said that those are not restrictions but security measures intended to protect American diplomats.
Former US First lady Barbara Bush passes away
• Former US first lady Barbara Bush passed away on April 17, 2018 at the age of 92.
• She was the wife of former US President George HW Bush and mother of another former President George W Bush.
• As the first lady, from 1989 to 1993, she embraced the cause of universal literacy and founded a foundation for family literacy.
• In his tribute message, President Donald Trump hailed her as an advocate of the American family. He said, amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.
Cate Blanchett to head Cannes Film Festival jury
• Australian actress Cate Blanchett would be leading the jury of the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
• Other members of the jury include filmmakers Ava DuVernay and Denis Villeneuve and actors Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux.
• Overall, the jury will include five men and four women from seven nationalities and five continents.
• Also serving on the jury are Chinese actor Chang Chen, French director Robert Guediguian, Burundian singer Khadja Nin and Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev.
Google testing landmark-based navigation to give directions
• In order to make navigation easy, Google is reportedly testing a new feature in maps that will use landmarks, including restaurants, as points of reference to give directions to a commuter.
• The feature has been made selectively available in New York City and Google has not announced whether the update would be rolled out widely.
• The announcement follows Google’s collaboration with a California-based 3D laser scanning non-profit organization – CyArk – to build virtual reality representations of historical sites around the world that are at risk of destruction due to human conflict or natural disasters.
• The joint effort, called the Open Heritage project, would use CyArk’s laser-scanning technology to capture and archive the imperiled archaeological wonders from all over the world.
US struck Syria without certainty on nerve agent
• US President Donald Trump’s administration carried out a retaliatory strike on Syria on April 14, 2018 even though intelligence agencies did not have absolute certainty that the Assad regime had used the nerve agent sarin against civilians.
• The decision to proceed with the strikes met a standard of evidence needed that officials felt they could accept.
• Administration officials were adamant that whatever was used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to attack civilians in Douma on April 7 was a chemical agent and that alone justified taking action.
• The lack of complete information played a role in deciding not to strike a larger set of targets including airfields, aircraft and helicopters.
German police crackdown on human trafficking, forced prostitution
• The German police raided sites across the country on April 18, 2018 in a crackdown on human trafficking and forced prostitution.
• The raid, which also involved Germany’s GSG9 special operations police unit, represented the biggest mass search in the history of the nation’s police.
US embassy advises Indian travelers to apply early for visa
• US embassy in New Delhi has asked travelers in India to apply early for US visa to avoid potential delays due to high demand for it in the summer season.
• The embassy said in a statement, that applicants across India may have to wait 30 days or more for a visa interview appointment to become available and that it expects this wait time to continue for at least the next few months.
• The embassy also asked people to be aware of scams and fraud.