Current Affairs June 2017 - International


1 - US successfully tested ICBM defence system for first time


The U.S. military successfully tested its defence system involving a simulated attack by an intercontinental ballistic missile. U.S. test fired an ICBM-type missile from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands toward the waters just south of Alaska. It is considered as first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-based Midcourse Defence.

A ground-based interceptor was test fired from California air base that shot down a mock ballistic missile. This successful test demonstrates a capable and incredible deterrent against a very real threat.

2 - The 70th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland

World Health Assembly

The 70th World Health Assembly was held from 22 May to 31 May 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the assembly, the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) chose Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of WHO. He will succeed Dr Margaret Chan.

WHO has proposed program budget of US$4.4215 billion for the biennium, which includes a 3% (or US$28 million) increase in assessed contributions for 2018-2019. A resolution was made to strengthen the governance and leadership of national immunization programs and thus meet Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) goals.

3 - General Assembly Elected Slovakia Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák as President of the 72nd session

Miroslav Lajčák

The General Assembly elected Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, as President of its seventy-second session, while also selecting members to the Bureaux of its six Main Committees. He will replace outgoing President Peter Thomson of Fiji.

The Assembly also elected the following 21 Vice-Presidents of its plenary: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Chile, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe.

4 - Japan launched second satellite for homegrown GPS system


Japan has launched a satellite to help build a high-precision geolocation system that will complement the US-operated GPS.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. launched an H-IIA rocket carrying the Michibiki No. 2 satellite from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The first satellite was put into orbit in 2010 and the third and fourth will be launched by March 2018 to start the service.

5 - Leo Varadkar elected as the New Ireland PM

Leo Varadkar

Indian-origin Leo Varadkar has been elected as Ireland's youngest and first gay Prime Minister. He will replace Enda Kenny. He won the Fine Gael party leadership. After Varadkar was elected by parliament, Irish President Michael D Higgins appointed him as prime minister by signing the warrant of appointment.

Varadkar appointed Frances Fitzgerald as deputy prime minister. Simon Coveney is named as minister for foreign affairs with special responsibility for Brexit.

6 - Former Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic sworn in as the new President of Serbia

Aleksandar Vucic

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was sworn in as the new President of Serbia. He formally stepped down from his prime minister's post to take on the new responsibility. He succeeded Tomislav Nikolić.

Vučić served as Minister of Information from 1998 to 2000 and later as Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2013, as well as First Deputy Prime Minister from 2012 to 2014. He founded the Serbian Progressive Party in 2008.

7 - Nepal Inked Agreement for Mega Hydroprojects with Chinese Firm

Mega Hydroprojects

Nepal’s Ministry of Energy on Sunday signed a MoU with China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) to develop 1,200 MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project. It is considered the biggest hydro project in Nepal that could resolve its perennial power crisis.

The project will be built under engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) model. Under this model, CGGC will help arrange funds required to develop the project. The funds will be mobilised in the form of soft loan or commercial loan from Chinese financial institutions.

8 - Six Arab Nations Cut Diplomatic Ties with Qatar

Six Arab Nations

Six Arab countries have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and UAE have suspended their diplomatic ties with Qatar.

These six nations accuse that Qatar backs militant groups including so-called Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, which Qatar denies. Wealthy individuals of Qatar are believed to have made donations and the government has given money and weapons to hardline Islamist groups in Syria. Qatar is also accused of having links to a group formerly known as the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

9 - Sher Bahadur Deuba elected Nepal’s Prime Minister

Sher Bahadur Deuba

Veteran Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected as Nepal’s prime minister for the fourth time. He became the 40th Prime Minister of Nepal. He secured 388 votes in his favour and 170 votes against him.

Outgoing Prime Minister Prachanda had resigned under a power sharing deal with the Nepali Congress leader.

Mr. Deuba served as the prime minister from 1995 to 1997, from 2001 to 2002, and from 2004 to 2005.

10 - Montenegro became NATO’s 29th member


Montenegro became NATO’s 29th member. Montenegro Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic submitted the official accession papers in a ceremony at the US State Department.

Montenegro became an independent republic in 2006 when it voted in a referendum to split with Serbia.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

11 - India and Sri Lanka signed agreement for developing Railway sector

India and Sri Lanka

India signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide Indian assistance of US$ 318 million credit line for the development of Sri Lanka's railway sector.

Government of India has already provided four Lines of Credit for the development of railway sector in Sri Lanka through its EXIM bank amounting to approximately US$ 966 million. These credit facilities have been utilized to improve the Southern and Northern railway lines and for the procurement of rolling stocks for the Sri Lanka Railways.

12 - India and 67 other countries signed OECD pact to check tax evasion by MNCs


India along with 67 other countries, at the OECD headquarters in Paris, has signed a ground breaking multilateral BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) convention that will close loopholes in thousands of tax treaties worldwide.

The OECD multilateral convention aims to crack down on tax evasion around the world.

MNCs often resort to artificial shifting of profits to low or no-tax locations, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.

13 - India, Pakistan Become Full Members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan became full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India feels that as an SCO member it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation. It is increasingly seen as a counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The SCO was founded at a Summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

14 - EU, France grant 3.5m euros to curb emissions in India

Mobilise Your City

France and the European Union extended a grant of 3.5 million euros under the ‘Mobilise Your City’ (MYC) initiative in order to carb emissions and promote sustainability to help India’s smart city programme.

Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad will get the grant as part of the EU’s commitment under the Paris Climate agreement. MYC aims to extend help to 100 cities globally to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by promoting sustainable urban transport and to promote sustainability in urban spaces.

15 - China launched world’s largest floating solar farm

Solar Farm

China launched world’s largest floating solar farm in Anhui province, of 40-megawatt power. It has 160,000 panels arising embedded in a lake that emerged after the collapse of a coal mine in central Anhui province. It is based on concept of utilizing Earth's surface area covered with water for collecting energy.

With such innovating ideas of China, the country is projected to get 20% of its power consumption from low-emission energy, including nuclear, by 2030. Floating solar farms help in clean tech solutions for the climate crisis.

16 - USA unveiled world’s smallest & cheapest private jet


USA’s Cirrus Aircraft unveiled world’s smallest & cheapest private jet carrying more people and cargo at a faster speed. It is named as 'Vision Jet' with only a single engine and flyable by a single pilot.

The Vision Jet can fly five adults at a speed of 345mph up to 1,150 miles at 28,000 feet. The jet is designed for private purpose at an affordable cost of $1.96 million.

Cirrus Aircraft is an US based Aviation Company that has launched the Cirrus Vision Jet, world’s cheapest private jet priced at Rs.12.6 Crore.

17 - G7 Environment Ministers meeting conducted in Bologna, Italy

 G7 Environment Ministers

Bologna hosted the Environment Ministerial Meeting of the G7. The meeting was particularly committed to environmental policies, in representation of emerging countries like Chile, Maldives, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

It focused on theme of the global environmental challenge, such as the state of implementation of the goals set by the Paris Agreement to fight climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN 2030 Agenda.

A ‘5-year Bologna Roadmap’ was also adopted at the meeting for important issues such as resource efficiency indicators, citizen involvement, awareness on food waste and economic analysis.

18 - World Bank approved over $500 million loan for Afghanistan to boost economy

World Bank

World Bank approved financing worth more than 500 million dollars for Afghanistan to support a string of projects to boost the economy, help improve service delivery in five cities and support Afghan refugees sent back from Pakistan.

The international troop withdrawal, which began in 2011, and political uncertainties have affected Afghanistan's economy. The largest chunk of the package, some 205.4 million dollars, will go toward supporting communities affected by refugees returning from Pakistan.

19 - EU to release remaining 25 Mn Euros of its grant for education in India


The European Delegation to India released final tranche of 25 million euros of its 80 million euro grant for upbringing of primary education and secondary education programs of the government. This is in support to a conclusion the EU's sector support to school education in India, to which it has contributed over 520 Mn Euros.

EU grants have been spent in setting up new schools, renovating existing ones, bridging gender gaps, providing toilets, training teachers, and increasing enrolment in the primary school years.

20 - India Pavilion at Expo 2017 inaugurated at Astana

India Pavilion

India’s national pavilion at the International Exhibition Expo 2017 (June10 – September 10) was inaugurated in Astana, Kazakhstan. India’s participation in this event has been organized by the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), New Delhi.

‘Creating a sync’ with theme of the Expo “Future Energy”, India pavilion features a model of Cochin Airport which is a 100 per cent world’s first green airport generating more energy than required. India Restaurant is also set up for serving taste of Indian cuisine during the three months long EXPO.

21 - 106th International Labour Conference, 2017 held

International Labour

The 106th Session of International Labour Conference (ILC) was held from 5-16th June 2017 at Geneva in Switzerland. An Indian Tripartite Delegation led by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge), Shri Bandaru Dattatreya participated in the ILC.

The Labour and Employment Minister informed about the amended Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017 that provides for paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, which would encourage women into employment. Indian delegation led by Labour and Employment Minister participated in bilateral meeting held with Iran and spoke about issues concerning MSMEs, rural employment and vocational training.

22 - AIIB approved membership of Argentina, Madagascar and Tonga


Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced that its Board of Governors has adopted resolutions approving three applicants Argentina, Madagascar and Tonga to join the Bank, bringing the Bank’s total approved membership to 80. This round of approved applicants includes one regional and two non-regional prospective members.

The three prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the Bank. AIIB is a new multilateral development bank founded to bring countries together to address the daunting infrastructure needs across Asia.

23 - China unveiled World’s first train that runs on Virtual Tracks

Virtual Tracks

China has unveiled the world’s first train that operates on a virtual track using sensor technology instead of metal rails.

This vehicle is fitted with sensors that detect the dimensions of the road allowing it to follow routes without the need for metal rails.

The new trains are battery powered. The train’s top speed is 70 kilometres per hour, and it can travel 25 kilometres in distance after just 10 minutes of charging.

24 - The fifth India Morocco Joint Commission Meeting held in Rabat

Joint Commission Meeting

The fifth India Morocco Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held in Rabat. The JCM was anchored by Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister.

5th India Morocco JCM was convened in Rabat during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for Cooperation on Broadcasting between Prasar Bharati, India and Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision (SNRT), Morocco.

The fifth India Morocco JCM intensified the strong bilateral relations between India and Morocco, and provided an impetus for closer cooperation between the two countries.

25 - Google fined 2.42 billion euros by the European Commission


Google has been fined 2.42 billion euros by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results. The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty.

However, if Google fails to change the way it operates the Shopping service within the three-month deadline, it could be forced to make payments of 5% of its parent company Alphabet's average daily worldwide earnings.

26 - Romanian President appointed Mihai Tudose as the new Prime Minister

Mihai Tudose

President of Romania Klaus Iohannis has appointed Mihai Tudose as the new Prime Minister of the country. Mr. Tudose is a Social Democrat candidate. The ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) removed its own government following an internal power row.

Mr. Tudose was the Minister of Economy in last the government led by Sorin Grindeanu. He was the chairperson of the Commission for Economic Policy, Reform and Privatization of the Chamber of Deputies.

27 - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inked MoU with EESL


Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Energy Services Company, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to implement energy efficiency programmes in the Gulf country.

According to the estimates by the World Bank, the electricity generated in Saudi Arabia completely relies on non-renewable sources like oil, gas and coal sources. The National Energy Services Company has engaged with EESL to replicate the success of the street lighting national programme and retrofit of buildings, with energy efficient appliances in Saudi Arabia.

28 - UNESCO named Sharjah as 'World Book Capital 2019'


Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) was named World Book Capital for the year 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

The city was selected because of the very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature of the application, with a community-focused activity program containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population. With the slogan "Read - you are in Sharjah", the program focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.