Current Affairs in Short: 4 April 2019

Chicago makes history, elects first black woman Lori Lightfoot as its mayor

• Chicago created history by electing an African-American woman, Lori Lightfoot as its mayor.
• Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer, won the votes by a huge margin.
• She will also be Chicago's first openly gay mayor.
• Lightfoot will take over office from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who previously served as Chief Of Staff under former President Barack Obama.

Brunei introduces sharia laws making adultery & homsexuality punishable

• Brunei introduced harsh new sharia laws that make adultery and homsexuality punishable by stoning to death.
• The new laws also cover a range of other crimes, including punishment for theft by amputation.
• The new law stipulates the death penalty for a number of offences, including rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insulting or defaming the Prophet Muhammad.
• It also introduces public flogging as punishment for abortion and criminalises exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam.
• Brunei's gay community has expressed shock and fear at the 'medieval punishments'.
• The law makes Brunei the first place in Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level.

TRAI asks Telcos to submit plan details of segmented offers every month

• The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) directed the telecom operators (Telcos) to submit all tariff plans at the end of every month.
• The telecom operators need to submit the details of rates, terms and conditions of scheme, quantum of service that customers will get, name of the plan, validity period and benefits available to the subscriber.
• TRAI also directed service providers to share with it the number of subscribers at the end of each month who have availed the segmented offer.
• TRAI had earlier issued a similar order in October 2018 but the same was set aside by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Pakistan could be blacklisted by Paris-based FATF

• Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to insufficient actions to block the flow of funds and activities of the terror groups.
• In June 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan on the 'grey list' of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terror financing.
• A group of experts from the FATF recently visited Pakistan to review the condition.
• It noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate it against the risks posed by terror groups, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Falah-i-Insaniat (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
• Pakistan's Foreign Minister acknowledged that the country could lose up to USD 10 billion annually if it remains on that list.

US Department of Agriculture closes ‘kitten slaughterhouse’

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced to soon remove the practice of using cats in research work.
• According to a watchdog group, the use of cats involved forced “cannibalism” and resulted in killing of over 3000 cats since 1982.
• In a laboratory in Beltsville near the capital Washington, scientists have been feeding cats and kittens meat contaminated with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii over more than three decades, according to the White Coat Waste Project.
• The researchers then tested the cats’ stools to confirm the presence of Toxoplasma and after three weeks, they went on to euthanise the cats even though they were healthy.

UK's House of Commons approves BREXIT Delay Law

• The House of Commons of the British Parliament approved a legislation which would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a BREXIT delay to prevent a potentially disorderly departure on April 12 without a deal.
• The legislation, put forward by opposition Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper, was rushed through all of its stages in the House of Commons in less than six hours.
• It was approved at the final stage by 313 votes to 312. It now has to pass the upper chamber, the House of Lords.

150 scientists call upon Indian voters to ‘choose wisely’

• A group of at least 150 scientists appealed to voters to “reject those who lynch or assault people” and vote against “inequality, intimidation, discrimination, and unreason.”
• The appeal was made under the aegis of the Indian Cultural Forum, an association of academics, activists, lawyers and scientists.
• These scientists belong to public and private institutions including the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER), the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Ashoka University, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT).
• The document was drafted by Satyajit Rath, adjunct Professor, IISER-Pune, and Rahul Roy, ISI-New Delhi.

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