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GS 2 A way out of the morass The U.S.’s plan to pull out of Afghanistan is an appropriate time to re-examine the idea of enabling its neutrality Basic income works and works well India has the technological capacity, the financial resources, and the need for a simple, transparent basic income scheme Change in Congo A contentious election may lead to the country’s first transfer of power via the ballot ‘Delhi must engage with Taliban, oppose U.S.-Pak. deal outside Kabul’ Wary of deals on Afghanistan between the U.S. and Pakistan, the former President urges India to seek an end to violence by speaking to all stakeholders India for Afghan-led peace talks The ministerial statement indicates India’s unchanged position regarding peace building in Afghanistan. At mini 2+2, India, U.S. review progress on pacts India and the U.S. reviewed the progress on finalising two key agreements during the 2+2 intercession meeting last week, apart from taking stock of the overall defence cooperation. The agreements are the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), a foundational agreement. GS 3 It is not a nod for Mekedatu: Centre The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that the conditional clearance given to Karnataka for preparing a detailed project report on Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project is subject to the amicable resolution of connected inter-State matters. Survey spots 3 new bird visitors A waterbird survey conducted in the Upper Kuttanad region has recorded 16,767 birds of 47 continental and local species. The survey, conducted as part of the annual Asian Waterbird Census, has spotted three new species — Greater flamingo, Grey-headed lapwing, and Blue-cheeked bee-eater. Train hits killed 49 elephants in 3 years Environment Ministry provides numbers on wild animals killed in road and train accidents Panel pulls up govt. for diverting coal cess The 42nd standing committee on energy in its report on stressed gas-based power plants tabled in Parliament earlier this month has pulled up the government for diverting coal cess to compensate States for revenue loss post-GST, and recommended financial support to the stressed gas-based power projects in the country from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF).