Current Affairs April 2016 - International
News 1 - EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 at Brussels 13th India-EU Summit
India’s PM Narendra Modi participated in the 13th India-European Union Summit held at Brussels, Belgium. The leaders endorsed the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 planning out a concrete road-map for the EU-India Strategic Partnership.
The leaders showed cooperation to counter violent extremism and the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, sources of terrorist financing and arms supply by adopting a joint declaration on Counter Terrorism. They also endorsed the establishment of the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) between the EU and India, reflecting the importance of India as a strategic partner for the EU in the field of migration and mobility.
News 2 - France to cease ‘Operation Sangaris’ across Central African Republic
France aims to cease its military intervention in the Central African Republic this year, said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The planned withdrawal of the troops indicates France expects a gradual return to peace in Central African Republic after more than two years of civil war and inter-religious violence.
France initially deployed some 1,600 troops in the country in December 2013 in a mission called Sangaris. The mission was launched with the objective of restoring security in the country after three years of communal violence. But the French Defense Ministry said no incidents were reported when the results of the first round of voting in the country’s presidential election were announced on January 25, due to which France aims to cease its military intervention in CAD.
News 3 - The 4th Nuclear Security Summit commenced in Washington
Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the United States to attend the 4th Nuclear Security Summit where all participating countries assessed nuclear terrorism threats. This summit highlighted the achievements of several countries towards safeguarding nuclear devices and technologies and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Mr. Narendra Modi began his speech by applauding President Obama for his sincere service to global security and said that we need to focus on three contemporary features of terrorism: Violence, technology and involvement of State actors and said that ‘Terrorism is globally networked. But, we still act only nationally to counter this threat. The reach and supply chains of terrorism are global, but genuine cooperation between nation states is not.
News 4 - Faustin Touadera sworn in as Central African Republic's New President
The Central African Republic's newly elected president Faustin Archange Touadera took the oath of office ushering in the first elected leader since Muslim rebels overthrew the government more than three years ago.
Touadera, a former math professor and prime minister, emerged from a crowded field of candidates and won the Feb. 14 runoff with nearly 63% of the vote. Both he and the runner-up candidate, Anicet Georges Dologuele, are Christians and campaigned on promises to help reunify the country plagued by sectarian violence that exploded in late 2013 between Muslim and Christian militias.
News 5 - Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan elected as the 1st female speaker of Vietnam
Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has been elected and sworn in as the NA Chairperson with 472 votes out of 481 valid ballots at the ongoing 11th session of the 13th NA. Previously, Ngan served as the Vice Chairperson of the Natonal Assembly from July 2011.
Apart from this, the NA Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong delivered a proposal on the nomination of candidates for the position of NA head, of which the 12th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPVCC) and CPVCC's Politburo nominated Ngan as the sole nominee to the post.
News 6 - US and Saudi Arabia jointly impose sanction on terrorists funding
The US and Saudi Arabia imposed sanctions jointly on four individuals and two organizations to disrupt terrorism fundraising operations in South Asia and the Middle East.
The Treasury said these organizations and individuals provide money for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other Afghan extremist groups, and the sanctioned have ties across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. The sanctions freeze any property they have within US jurisdiction and bans Americans from doing business with them.
News 7 - Nuclear Security Summit 2016 concluded in Washington DC
The Nuclear Security Summit 2016 concluded in Washington, D.C. The fourth edition of the conference was organized by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) attended by over 50 World leaders. However, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Belarus did not participate in the summit.
The leaders in the summit discussed about the efforts to prevent terrorist acquisition of nuclear material.
News 8 - Police Chief Tran Dai Quang sworn in as the President of Vietnam
Vietnam’s Chief of Police Tran Dai Quang, was sworn in as the 9th President of the nation. He won 91.5 per cent of the votes. He will succeed Truong Tan Sang. Quang was the serving Minister of Public Security from 2011 to 2016.
He had been nominated for the largely ceremonial role at January's communist party conference. One of his first tasks will be to welcome visiting US President Barack Obama next month. Analysts believe one-party Vietnam will continue with economic reforms, but steer clear of major political changes.
News 9 - Philippines launched world’s first mass dengue vaccination program
Philippines launched the first public immunization program for dengue fever. The vaccine consists of three shots of Dengvaxia.
The government is spending 3.5 billion pesos ($76 million) to administer the free vaccines, which it bought at a discounted cost of 3,000 pesos ($65) for three doses for each child. Dengvaxia, developed by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, obtained its first license in Mexico in December last year for use in individuals aged 9 to 45.
News 10 - International Conference on Zero held in Paris
The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, through the Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, and together with the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, hosted an International Conference on the Zero on 4-5 April, 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The International Conference shared the rich and remarkable history of mathematics, through the participation of some brilliant minds, resonating with the UNESCO’s mandate to advance, transfer and share knowledge for the greater global good.
News 11 - UNESCO adopted two new recommendations on Education and Training
The President of UNESCO’s General Conference, Mr. Stanley Mutumba Simataa, and UNESCO’s Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova, signed the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education and the Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education and Training at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on 4th of April.
They will be used around the world to guide the transformation and expansion of equitable learning opportunities for youth and adults.
News 12 - US Senate unanimously approves Trade Secrets Bill
The U.S. Senate approved the Defend Trade Secrets Act. The legislation gives companies greater legal protections for their commercial secrets and allow them for the first time to sue in federal court if they are stolen.
The legislation was introduced by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The Defend Trade Secrets Act passed 87-0, amid strong White House backing.
Supporters hope the unanimous vote will boost the bill's prospects in the House of Representatives.
News 13 - Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson appointed as the new Prime Minister of Iceland
Iceland’s governing coalition named the deputy chair of the Progressive Party, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, as the new Prime Minister. Johannsson is the current agriculture and fisheries minister. He will succeed Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson who stepped down in the wake of the leaked Panama Papers.
The coalition, also announced early elections in the autumn. Protesters have gathered the last three nights in their capital, Reykjavik.
News 14 - Vietnam’s Eighth Prime Minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc
The Vietnam Parliament approved Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the country's eighth Prime Minister succeeding outgoing leader Nguyen Tan Dung at the Communist Party's congress, in a formal vote, 446 of the 490 members in the National Assembly. He won more than 90% of the vote in parliament.
In his inaugural remarks reported by local media, he promised to lead the country to prosperity. Mr. Dung had gunned for the position of general secretary, pitting himself against Mr. Trong, but ultimately withdrew when he failed to win sufficient support among delegates.
News 15 - French Government passed a Law to ban paying for sex
French lawmakers passed a bill that makes it illegal to pay for sex and imposes fine up to 3750 Euro (4270 dollar) on sex workers’ clients. The bill has been drafted by Socialist Lawmaker Maud Olivier. Earlier in 2003, the It reverses the Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration had passed a legislation that placed the legal burden on sex workers and not on the buyers.
The bill was passed by 64 votes to 12. Backed by the Socialist government, the legislation makes France only the fifth European country that punishes the clients of sex workers. Other four countries that punish the clients of sex workers are Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Britain.
News 16 - Red Sea Bridge to be Constructed Across Egypt and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia and Egypt agreed for an agreement to build a bridge over the Red Sea connecting the two countries and increasing trade between the two continents. An Egyptian official said the deals agreed with Saudi Arabia during Salman’s visit would amount to about $1.7bn (£1.2bn). They include an agreement to build a university and homes in South Sinai, and a power plant.
It was not mentioned where the bridge would be built, but at the closest point - Nabq, just north of Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt, and Ras Alsheikh Hamid, in Saudi Arabia - the two countries are 16km apart.
News 17 - Kosovo's New President Hashim Thaci in Sworn-In Ceremony
Hashim Thaci, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo assumed in as President of Kosovo at the Parliament replacing Atifete Jahjaga. The sworn-in ceremony at the Kosovo Assembly was boycotted by Opposition parties.
Thaci said that "Serb and Albanian peoples have a bitter past but should turn to the future," and that dialogue with Belgrade "has no alternative," while "Kosovo will work on constructive relations with Serbia."
News 18 - UN-backed Yemen ceasefire in effect
The Saudi-led coalition supporting government forces in Yemen and the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels who are trying to overthrow the government have said that they will respect a UN-backed ceasefire. The UN special envoy to Yemen is Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
Negotiation on ending the conflict is scheduled for 18th April 2016 in Kuwait. The current President of Yemen is Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis are backed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and supported by Iran.
News 19 - Pakistan successfully test fires anti-ship ‘Zarb’ missile
The Pakistan Navy has conducted a successful test-fire of shore-based anti-ship missile ‘Zarb'. The missile successfully hit the surface target in the Arabian Sea. Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi were present during the launch of the new missile system.
The missile has been formally inducted into Pakistan Navy’s defence system soon after its successful launch.
News 20 - Pakistan and China launch joint air force training exercise
Pakistan and China have launched a joint bilateral air force exercise named Shaheen (Eagle) 5. The 5th edition of such exercise started on April 9 and will last till 30th April, it is being conducted in Pakistan. Shaheen 4 was staged in China last year.
This edition of exercise seeks to boost bilateral relations between the two countries. The two countries are also jointly producing the PACJF-17 Thunder aircraft.
News 21 - United Nations to observe the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar
United Nations (UN), for the first time, will observe the birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, father of the Indian Constitution on April 13, 2016. The main focus of this observance will be on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 125th birth anniversary Dr. Ambedkar will be commemorated at the UN headquarters in New York by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, in association with the Kalpana Saroj Foundation and Foundation for Human Horizon.
News 22 - Royal Mail marks 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with Special Stamps
The Royal Mail launched a set of stamps to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Ten First Class stamps pay tribute to the genius of Shakespeare through his immortal words and poetry. They will be sold at 8000 post offices across Britain.
For more than 50 years, William Shakespeare and his work have appeared on 25 stamps making him the most featured individual on Special Stamps outside of the Royal Family of England.
News 23 - The G7 Foreign Ministers' meet concluded with adoption of Hiroshima Declaration
The two-day G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting held on 10 and 11 April 2016 ended in Hiroshima. The meeting ended with a joint communique, a Hiroshima Declaration and two other statements on maritime security and nonproliferation.
The highlight of this meeting was the Hiroshima Declaration that calls for a world without nuclear weapons. The leaders also condemned the recent terrorist attacks across the globe and this year’s nuclear test and rocket launch by North Korea.
News 24 - Operation Omari launched by Taliban
The Taliban announced the launch of its annual spring offensive in Afghanistan. This operation is titled “Omari Operation” after its deceased leader Mullah Omar.
The announcement was made to launch large-scale offensives against the government strongholds backed by suicide and guerrilla attacks to drive Afghanistan’s Western-backed government from power. The Taliban have grown stronger than at any point since the withdrawal of international troops from combat at the end of 2014.
News 25 - European Commission proposes public tax transparency rules for multinationals
The European Commission proposed to tackle corporate tax avoidance in Europe, estimated to cost EU countries EUR 50-70 billion a year in lost tax revenues.
It would require multinationals operating in the EU with global revenues exceeding EUR 750 million a year to publish key information on where they make their profits and where they pay their tax in the EU on a country-by-country basis. The companies will also have to publish an aggregate figure for total taxes paid outside the EU.
News 26 - IMF warned of risk from Brexit amidst reducing the global growth forecast
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned of risks of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) amidst reducing the global growth forecast. Some advocacy groups including individuals and political parties like justice secretary, Michael Gove, and London's mayor Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom (UK), believe that Britain’s exit out of the EU will favor them but according to IMF, if the voters of Britain opt to leave the EU, it would damage established trading relations globally.
This led to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on 20 February 2016 declaring to hold a referendum on the country's membership of the EU on 23 June 2016 following the passing of the European Union Referendum Act 2015.
News 27 - Nauru joins as 189th member of IMF, World Bank
The South Pacific Island Nation Nauru has become the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The Nation had applied for membership in the IMF and World Bank in April 2014, after joining the United Nations in 1996.
By joining the World Bank, Nauru gains support to financial matters, technical and special expertise in dealing with Pacific area issues, such as water and sanitation and disaster risk management amid the threat of climate change and rising sea levels.
News 28 - Sushila Karki Becomes the First Female Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court
The 63-year-old Justice Sushila Karki has been selected by the Constitutional Council of Nepal for the post of 26th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal, succeeding Justice Kalyan Shrestha.
She was appointed ad-hoc judge at the Supreme Court in January 2009 and as permanent justice on November 18, 2010. Previous to her appointment as judge of Supreme Court in 2009, she had served as a senior advocate. She was accorded the title of senior advocate in 2004 and had served as President of the Appellate Court Bar Association Biratnagar for a term until 2004.
News 29 - Iconic Pepsi-Cola sign got historic landmark designation in New York
An immense Pepsi-Cola sign on the banks of East River of New York has been declared as a historic landmark after 25 years of discussion. The red neon sign was built in 1936.
It has appeared in several films, including Steven Spielberg's "Munich" (2005) with Daniel Craig and Mathieu Kassovitz, and Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter" (2005) with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn.
News 30 - US Jury Slaps $940 Million Fine on TCS in a Trade Secret Case
The Tata Consultancy Services(TCS) and Tata America International Corp have been slapped with a USD 940 million fine by a US grand jury in a trade secret lawsuit filed against them by Epic Systems. The jury has asked the Tata firms to pay $240 million to Epic Systems for ripping off its software and also asked to pay $700 million in punitive damages.
Epic Systems had accused the two companies of brazenly stealing the trade secrets, confidential information, documents and data” belonging to Epic. TCS acknowledged the receipt of the verdict, but denied any wrong doing.
News 31 - The 13th Islamic Summit Conference concluded in Istanbul
The Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held their Summit (13th Islamic Summit titled ‘Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace’) in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey. The Summit Conference was chaired by H. E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey.
The leaders of Muslim nations had gathered to address issues such as terrorism, migration crisis, and the issue of Palestine. The OIC has called upon India to implement the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.
News 32 - The 14th meeting of Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China held in Moscow
The Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China held their 14th Meeting in Moscow, Russian Federation, on 18 April 2016. Foreign Ministers - Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Sushma Swaraj for India, and Wang Yi of China took part in the meeting.
They discussed issues like terrorism, latest developments in Afghanistan, world drug problem, situation in Israel and Palestine, latest developments in Syria etc. They emphasized that cooperation between their countries is conducive to maintaining international and regional peace and stability and promoting global economic growth and prosperity. The next trilateral meeting will be held in India.
News 33 - World Bank Group to Invest $2.5 Billion in Education Projects benefiting Adolescent Girls
The World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced that the World Bank Group would invest $2.5 billion over 5 years in education projects that directly benefit adolescent girls. The announcement was made at the Let Girls Learn event during the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings.
Programs to be supported will include access to quality education at the secondary level, ensure they are enrolled in and stay in school, and provision of scholarships, conditional cash transfers, and schools with basic facilities like clean drinking water and toilets that promote enrollment.
News 34 - Global Leaders Launch First-Ever Investment Framework for Nutrition and Call for Immediate Action
Leading researchers and economists in the fields of nutrition and development launched first-ever investment framework for nutrition during the Investing in Nutrition: The Foundation for Development event hosted by the World Bank, the Results for Development Institute, and 1,000 Days. It is part of a global effort to increase investment in nutrition.
Investing an additional $2.2 billion per year in nutrition over the next 10 years will help to save an estimated 2.2 million lives and result in 50 million fewer stunted children by 2025, empowering them to grow to their full physical and cognitive potential. To finance these priority actions, together country governments will need to invest on average an additional $1.4 billion per year while donors will need to finance on average an additional $650 million per year on top of current investments. The 2015 Global Nutrition Report indicates that every $1 of investment in nutrition yields $16 in benefits across health and productivity.
News 35 - A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador
Ecuador’s Pacific coast was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, country’s strongest earthquake in decades, killing at least 413 people and more than 2000 people believed to have been injured. The earthquake struck in the country’s largest city of Guayaquil. President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency. The epicenter was approximately 27 kms southeast of Muisne.
About 10,000 troops have been deployed along with 3,500 extra national police officers. Five shelters have been set up for those evacuated from their homes.
News 36 - UN, IMF, World Bank and OECD join hands for Collaboration on Tax
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), The United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group (WBG) have joined hands to form the Platform to boost global cooperation in tax matters and develop new tools and standards for tackling tax base erosion and evasion.
The group aims to develop appropriate policies for the taxation of multinational enterprises and support governments better in addressing the tax challenges they face.
News 37 - Laos appoints a new President and a Prime Minister
The National Assembly of Laos appointed Communist Party Chief Bounnhang Vorachit as the new president of the country. Foreign minister, Thongloun Sisoulith, was appointed as the new as prime minister of the country. Outgoing president Choummaly Sayasone completed the maximum permissible tenure of 10 years in office. Phankham Viphavanh was appointed vice president, along with three deputy prime ministers: Bounthong Chitmany, Sonexay Siphandone and Somdy Douangdy.
Laos is one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia and averages GDP growth of 7% in the last decade.
News 38 - Europe becomes the world’s first region to end malaria: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) in its World Malaria Report 2015 has declared Europe to be the world’s first region to wipe out Malaria with zero cases reported in the year 2015. WHO declares a particular region or country as Malaria free after it has zero locally acquired malaria cases for at least three consecutive years.
According to the report, the number of malaria cases fell from 90,712 to zero between 1995 and 2015 in the countries of European region. Only 179 cases of malaria were reported in six countries in 2010. The last cases of malaria were reported in Tajikistan in 2014.
News 39 - Idriss Deby elected as the President of Chad for the 5th time
Mr. Idriss Deby was elected as the President of Chad for a record 5th time. He has been in power since 1990. His party, Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), secured the 61.56 % of the votes.
Deby, at present, is also the Chairperson of the African Union (AU). Chad serves as the headquarters for a five-nation regional force intended to defeat the Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram. It is also the base for France’s military operations in Africa.
News 40 - Harriet Tubman to be the first African-American to appear on US paper currency
Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American and the first woman in more than a century to appear on the face of U.S. paper currency. when she replaces former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. The U.S. Treasury Department said that Tubman will take the centre spot and replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill who would move to the back.
Tubman was born as a slave around 1820 and helped hundreds of others escape. She was also an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War.
News 41 - Pakistan, China to launch a special satellite to monitor CPEC
The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and the China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) signed an agreement for the launch of "Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) System to monitor execution of development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The satellite is set to launch in June 2018. The CPEC is a $46 billion project giving Beijing an opening to the Arabian Sea.
India has been protesting the corridor’s passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
News 42 - 175 countries including India sign the Paris climate agreement
About 175 countries including India have signed the historic Paris climate agreement. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar put the signature on the historic deal on behalf of India.
The Paris Agreement on climate change is a milestone in global climate cooperation. The Paris Agreement addresses all the important concerns and expectations of India. The agreement will come into force once 55 countries representing at least 55% of the global emissions formally join it. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan are some of the countries who have not yet confirmed on the submission to the agreement.
News 43 - Saudi Arabia plans to bring down dependence on oil
The Saudi Arabia cabinet agreed for a broad-based economic reform plan. Known as Vision 2030, the government is planning to diversify the economy over the next 14 years. The vision includes forming public investment fund, boosting affordable housing and giving expats long-term residence.
Saudi Arabia's economy has suffered over the past 12 months in line with the falling price of oil, with a $98bn budget deficit last year and an estimated deficit of $87bn this year. Its reserves decreased from $746bn in 2014 to $616bn.
News 44 - Al-Qaeda affiliate claims the murder of LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan in Bangladesh
An Al-Qaeda affiliate, Bangladeshi militant group, Ansar al-Islam, has claimed the murder of a top gay rights activist and his friend in Bangladesh. Xulhaz Mannan, editor of a LGBT magazine, and actor Tanay Mojumdar, were hacked to death on Monday.
Mr Mannan edited Roopbaan, a magazine and activist group for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community that had received some support from foreign embassies.
News 45 - JKLF founder Amanullah Khan passed away
The Founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Amanullah Khan, died at the age of 82 years. He co-founded the JK National Liberation Front (NLF) with Maqbool Bhat.
Amanullah Khan has been believed to be the mastermind behind the killing of Ravindra Mhatre, the number two in the Indian Consulate in Birmingham in 1984.
News 46 - Lobsang Sangey re-elected PM of Tibetan Govt-in-exile
The Tibetan government-in-exile, re-elected Lobsang Sangey as the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term. 48-year-old Sangey defeated his only rival, who is the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Pempa Tsering by 9,012 votes.
The Chief Election Commissioner of the Tibetan government-in-exile Sonam Chhopel said, the names of all the 45 elected members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have also been declared. Counting of the votes was held from April 20-22 at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.