Current Affairs in Short: 16 April 2019

Europe "wounded" by Notre-Dame fire, EU pledges help

• The European Union declared on April 16, 2019 that the devastating blaze at Paris's Notre Dame cathedral is blow to all Europe and all Europe will contribute to its rebuilding.
• Several speakers in a debate on last week's Brexit summit used the fire at the medieval landmark to underscore arguments that the Union represents a deep-rooted common European society.
• "We are all a little bereaved," said Juncker. "Yesterday was a terrible day for all those who love France and who love Paris.
• "In all of our lives, Paris is not a neutral place. It is a place that we love falling in love with again. Seeing this city in the grip of a tragedy, which is not only architectural but touches the life of the French people, being destroyed by flames is heartbreaking."
• Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier who chairs summits of EU national leaders, noted that his Baltic home city of Gdansk, was razed to the ground in World War Two but had been rebuilt.

UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations: UNSG report

• The United Nations owes India USD 38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said as he voiced concern over the world body's deteriorating financial health.
• In his report on improving the financial situation of the world body, he said, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million.
• Of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million), Guterres said in his report.
• The UN Chief said that the arrears to troop- and police-contributing (TCCs/PCCs) countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 "in the worst-case scenario".
• He added that which troop- and police-contributing countries will or will not be paid depends on the cash position of the individual missions to which they contribute and is not determined by their individual capacity to shoulder that unfair burden.

PwC appoints Padmaja Alaganandan as its new chief people officer

• PwC has named Padmaja Alaganandan as its new chief people officer. Alaganandan, who was leader-people and organisation at PwC earlier, takes over from Jagjit Singh. Alaganandan is also in the PwC's India leadership team since January 2019.
• Alaganandan said her priority as chief people officer will be to build talent in line with PwC’s strategy. "Building a wellbalanced and inclusive workforce is key to our business," she said.
• Alaganandan has over 25 years of consulting experience in business and human capital advisory in diverse industries.
• Before joining PwC in 2011, Alaganandan had worked in leadership roles in organisations such as Mercer Consulting and AF Ferguson. She has also been a member of CII's National HR Committee and the Committee on Skill Development.

Motor racing: Lewis Hamilton wins Formula One's 1,000th race

• In motor racing, Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix for a record sixth time on April 14, 2019.He seized the overall lead from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in Formula One’s 1,000th world championship race.
• The comfortable win was the 75th of Hamilton’s career and second in a row after his lucky triumph in Bahrain two weeks ago.
• Valtteri Bottas was second for his team’s third one-two finish in as many races this season. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third place.

US State Department advises citizens to reconsider their travel to Pakistan

• The US Department of State has advised its citizens to reconsider their travel to Pakistan due to terrorism.
• It has asked their citizens not to travel to restive Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir as it has identified these places as the most dangerous areas due to terror attacks.
• While Pakistan in general has been placed in "level three" category in the latest travel advisory issued by the US on April 15, several parts of the country, including Balochistan, KPK province, Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir and India-Pakistan border, have been placed in the most dangerous "level four" category, identified as high risk areas.
• Asserting that terror groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan, the State Department said that terrorists may attack transportation hubs, markets, military installations, airports, universities, schools, hospitals, tourist locations, places of worship and government facilities.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran rises to career-high ranking of 80

• In tennis, continuing his good run, India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran achieved a career-high ranking of 80 in the latest ATP rankings released on April 15, 2019.
• The 29-year-old from Chennai, who broke into the top 100 in February 2019, improved two places to become the sixth highest in terms of singles ranking in the history of Indian tennis.
• Prajnesh had reached the third round of Indian Wells in his maiden appearance at an ATP Masters event.

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