In a gesture of solidarity and recognition, Palestinian journalists covering the crisis in Gaza have been named laureates of the 2024 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The announcement comes from the recommendation of an International Jury of media professionals, emphasizing the courage and commitment of these journalists amidst challenging circumstances.

Dr. Purnima Devi Barman, a wildlife biologist from Assam, has been recognized with the prestigious Whitley Gold Award for her exemplary conservation efforts aimed at protecting the endangered Greater Adjutant Stork and its wetland habitat. This accolade, often referred to as the ‘Green Oscar’, highlights her remarkable contributions to wildlife conservation and underscores the importance of grassroots efforts in safeguarding biodiversity.

Indian Chess Prodigy, Vaishali Ramesh Babu has been awarded the title of Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). Vaishali is the third Indian female Grandmaster, joining Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli. Vaishali completed the requisite 2500 ELO points at the Llobregat Open tournament in Spain, last year. However, the title was officially given to her only recently following the FIDE Council meeting during the Candidates Tournament in Toronto last month.

Retired Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra has been appointed as the President of the Goods & Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) by the Centre. The move aims to streamline the resolution of disputes concerning businesses efficiently. The appointment, made by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet based on the recommendation of the Search-cum-Selection Committee, comes with a salary of Rs. 2.50 lakh per month for a tenure of four years.

Shashi Bhushan Singh, a 2010-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, has been appointed as the Secretary (at the Director level) of the National Jute Board in Kolkata under the Ministry of Textiles. The appointment, approved by the Central Government, is effective for a five-year term or until further orders. The Central Government, via an order from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), has approved the appointment of Shashi Bhushan Singh as Secretary (at Director level) of the National Jute Board.

Atanu Chakraborty’s re-appointment as part-time Chairman of HDFC Bank for three years, effective from May 5, 2024, to May 4, 2027, has been approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Board of Directors has also sanctioned his re-appointment as an Independent Director for the same tenure. The RBI has given its nod for Atanu Chakraborty’s continuation as the part-time Chairman of HDFC Bank for the specified three-year term.

Senior Indian Information Service officer, Maushumi Chakravarty assumed the charge of Director General of Akashvani News. Chakravarty assumed the charge after superannuation of Ms. Vasudha Gupta as Principal DG. A 1991 batch IIS officer, Ms Chakravarty has vast experience of working in several media organizations of the I&B Ministry, including the Press Information Bureau and Central Bureau of Communication.

Legislators in the Solomon Islands have elected former Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as their new prime minister. Manele, who has pledged to continue the Pacific nation’s China-friendly foreign policy, won 31 votes in a secret ballot. His opponent, longtime opposition leader Matthew Wale, secured 18 votes.

In the latest edition of the World Press Freedom Index published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), India finds itself at a concerning position, ranking 159th out of 180 countries. This marks a slight improvement from its previous rank of 161, yet it still underscores significant challenges faced by journalists in the country. Surprisingly, India trails behind its neighboring nation Pakistan, which holds the 152nd position, while Sri Lanka stands at 150th place. Norway topped the ranking, while Denmark was on the second rank in World Press Freedom Index. Sweden ranked third on the list.


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