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BJP SWEEPS DELHI CLEAN; AAP LEFT HOLDING JHADU

MCD ELECTIONS// The BJP has retained, by huge margins, all three municipal corporations in Delhi for which elections were held last month. The only contest was for a number two between Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress. AAP gets that consolation prize, with the Congress third in all the municipalities. The Congress’ Delhi chief Ajay Maken has resigned, while AAP has alleged that rigged voting machines led to its rout. BJP chief Amit Shah credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance for the victory and said, “The people of Delhi have rejected negative politics, the politics of excuses.”

The MCD elections is an important addition to the BJP’s list of victories this year in state and local polls across the country. The party has dominated the MCD for a decade and conducted a big campaign to retain control, still smarting at being reduced to just three seats in the Delhi assembly in 2015, as AAP swept 67 of the 70 seats. In the 2014 national election, the BJP had won all seven of Delhi’s parliament seats. Ajay Maken said he was quitting as the Congress' Delhi chief and would not hold any party post for a year. He said the Congress was the day's big gainer on vote share, but he had expected to do better. Just ahead of the MCD polls some top Delhi Congress leaders quit the party and joined the BJP as a rebellion bubbled against Mr Maken.

For AAP, this loss means a political wipe-out. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s party, which had swept assembly elections in Delhi two years ago, is already reeling from humiliating losses in the Punjab and Goa assembly elections last month

Final Results: BJP - 184, AAP - 46, Cong - 30, Independent - 6, BSP - 2, SP - 1, INLD - 1

NORTH KOREA THUMBS ITS MISSILES AT US

MILITARY EXERCISE// North Korea’s military conducted huge live-fire drills on April 25 and issued new warnings that it would defend itself against the “American imperialists”, amid high tensions and a military buildup in the region. In retaliation, the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies flexed their muscle as well by conducting military exercises of their own. In addition, one of the US’s largest guidedmissile submarines showed up in the South Korean port of Busan, presaging of the imminent arrival to the region of a naval strike group led by an aircraft carrier.

The military build-up on both sides comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and warnings from the Trump administration that “all options are on the table” for dealing with the regime in Pyongyang. Analysts had been concerned that North Korea might seek to mark important dates this month - the birthday of the state’s founder was celebrated with a huge military parade on April 15 - with a nuclear or ballistic missile test. North Korea did launch a missile on April 16, but it exploded within seconds

Analysts also warned against reading too much into the exercises with conventional weaponry, noting that North Korea's annual winter training cycle culminates in big exercise every year around this time. Still, North Korea remains defiant despite mounting pressure from the Trump administration and, increasingly, China, to stop its missile program.

SUKMA NAXAL ATTACK: 25 CRPF MEN KILLED BY MAOISTS

MILITANCY// Maoist militants killed 25 paramilitary personnel and injured six in Chhattisgarh’s south Sukma region on April 24 in an ambush possibly to thwart a crucial road link the government believes would break the back of the insurgent group. The midday attack, which occurred between the Burkapal-Chintagufa area in the Maoist hotbed of Bastar, is the worst in seven years. In 2010, rebels killed 75 CRPF troopers in the same region. Monday’s victims were part of a 99-strong team providing security to workers building the road

DM Awasthi, special director general of police (anti-Maoist operations) said later in a statement, “Security forces will move with ease in the area after this road is built and this is troubling the Maoists. We are entering their core through this road,”.

Survivors of the attack said about 300 militants waylaid them, firing with rifles from hilltops. Senior police officers said the security party was having lunch when they were attacked. The security personnel were evacuated by air force choppers and a rescue team. The deceased were from the 74th battalion of the CRPF and included an inspector-rank officer.

SAMANTRA DEFEATS VEDANTA; WINS GOLDMAN PRIZE

AWARD// Indian activist Prafulla Samantra has won the Goldman Environment Prize, one of the world most important environment awards. He won the award for his action in stopping a large company from taking over tribal land for mining in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa

Samantra grew up in Orissa in a family of farmers. He trained as a lawyer when he grew up. In 2003, he read a news report about the plans of a mining company named Vedanta to take over land in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa and convert it into a mine. Mines are used to dig out rocks and minerals from deep within the ground. The Niyamgiri Hills are rich in bauxite deposits which are mined to make the metal aluminum. Worried that the mine would destroy tribal and forest land important to the Dongria Kondh, Samantra worked hard to educate the local people to rise up in protest against the mine. He also filed a case in the Supreme Court. In 2013, the Supreme Court said that the local people of the Niyamgiri Hills alone could decide whether to go ahead with the mine or not. Thanks to the Samantra’s work, the village leaders of the area voted against the mine. Defeated, Vedanta cancelled the project in 2015. Samantra’s story shows how people can fight for their rights even when faced with a powerful company.

Samantra is the sixth Indian to win the Goldman prize.

HOOFING THE AADHAR

POLICY// The Indian Government is thinking of issuing Identity Cards for cows, calves, oxen and bulls. The idea behind this is to prevent illegal smuggling of old and retired cattle across the border into Bangladesh.

The ID tag will contain details such as the cow’s age, breed, height, body colour and horn type and each cow will have a unique ID number. The government will also maintain a list of such ID card holding cows.

It is well known that hundreds of cows are illegally smuggled each day from India to Bangladesh, where they are sold. Such cows, many of who have retired from farm work or no longer produce milk, may be finally killed for their meat. The killing of cows for meat is not permitted in many states of India and the law does not allow cows to be transported from states where their killing is banned to ones where it is allowed. Therefore, smuggling cows to another country is also not allowed. The government hopes that through the ID cards, it will be able to fix the smuggling problem

MARCH FOR SCIENCE

PROTEST// Thousands of people in the United States took to the streets to march in protest on Saturday, April 22, which was celebrated as Earth Day. They were protesting against what they see as the ‘anti-science’ activities of the government led by Donald Trump. Many in the US are angry that Trump plans to spend less money on government science and research projects. More worryingly, the new President doesn’t seem to believe that the climate change problem is real. The increase in Earth’s temperature due to human activities is called global warming and this is causing the climate of the Earth to change. To stop or reverse climate change, scientific studies and research projects are required, and the fear is that the Trump government may stop supporting these projects. Many messages were leveled at Trump and his party, which holds majorities in Congress. Scientists have raised alarms over Trump’s budget blueprint, which would cut $12.6 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services, including $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health alone.

WINDS OF CHANGE IN EUROPE

ELECTIONS// Winds of change are blowing across Europe with elections to be held in two countries-United Kingdom and France. Results to these elections could change the history of Europe forever. Its Macron vs Le Pen in France

In the final round of elections on May 7, Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in a final fight that will decide who becomes the next President of France. The French elect their President through a ‘run-off’ race. If one single person does not get the largest share of vote in the first round, the top two candidates face off for a final round. That’s what will take place on May 7.

If elected, each of these leaders could change the way France is run. Marine Le Pen, for instance, is against immigrants and she is likely to make it very difficult for new immigrants to shift to France

Macron is a surprise winner-he formed his political party just a year ago and if he is elected, could become France’s youngest President. He promises to bring a fresh approach to the way the government in France is run. He also supports the idea of France remaining in the European Union, which is a group of European countries which follow common laws and rules.

Surprise elections in May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a surprise election in June. She has called for it in June, just before the UK takes its first steps to leave the EU. After being part of the Union for years, the UK last year voted to leave the EU. May would like the people of the UK to choose the leader who will lead them through this change. At this point in time, May’s political party is in the lead and it appears that May will be back as Prime Minister after the election.

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