Current Affairs May 2017 - International


News 1 - India will give Rs 35 cr to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh

freedom fighters

India will give Rs 35 crore to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh in the next five years under the new 'Muktijodha scholarship' scheme. 600 undergraduate students were awarded the scholarships this year.

The scheme was initiated in 2006 and more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk150 million have been disbursed since then.

Under the new scheme, students at a higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Tk 20,000 (Rs 1,53,700) and those at the undergraduate level will get Tk 50,000 (Rs 38,430).

News 2 - Two-day international meeting on Syria held in Kazakhstan


The two-day international meeting on Syria held in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana. A high level delegation of guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire, Russia, Turkey and Iran, UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura and representative from Jordan as well as US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs, Stuart Jones attended the meeting.

The delegation of the Syrian government was headed by the permanent representative of Syria to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari. The delegation of the armed opposition was led by the representative of the Jaysh al-Islam group Mohammed Allush.

News 3 - Ballistic missile test-fired from California coastal base


An unarmed missile capable of sending a nuclear bomb across the world was launched from California amid rising tensions between the US and North Korea.

The unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The test was the latest designed to check the readiness and accuracy of a weapon system that forms part of the US nuclear force. The US has about 450 such missiles, each capable of traveling about 8,000 miles.

4 - 27th Session of Universal Periodic Review Working Group held in Geneva


The 27th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group held from 1st to 12th of May at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

During the session, India's National Report for the UPR-III was reviewed. Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi presented the Indian delegation.

The National Report of India covered areas that were part of the recommendations accepted by India following the UPR-II in 2012. The report also covered areas of cooperative engagement and collaboration that has marked the approach to the issue of human rights.

News 5 - India elected to head UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme


India was unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world, after 10 years. UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.

Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu chaired the four day meeting of the 58-member Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya and presided over the deliberations of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat for the next two years.

News 6 - Moon Jae-in elected as South Korea’s 19th president

Moon Jae-in

The newly elected President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, was sworn in as 19th President of the country.

Mr. Moon took the oath of office, a day after his liberal Democratic Party's decisive victory in a snap election called to find a replacement for Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in March over a corruption scandal.

Mr. Moon appointed South Jeolla Province Governor, Lee Nak-yon as the Prime Minister.

Moon won by defeating his rivals -- Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the centrist People's Party.

News 7 - Sohail Mahmood appointed as Pakistan’s new envoy to India

Sohail Mahmood

55-years-old Pakistani diplomat Sohail Mahmood replaced Abdul Basit to become Islamabad's new High Commissioner to New Delhi. Prior to this appointment, he was holding post of Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey.

He has also served as High Commissioner to Thailand and at the embassy in Ankara between 1991 and 1994.

He has attended several Pakistani missions including ones in Washington and New York. Abdul Basit, who completed his 3 years’ tenure will be appointed as head of the Foreign Service Academy (FSA) in Islamabad.

News 8 - Emmanuel Macron won French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron won French presidential election by 66.06% votes defeating Marine Le Pen. With this win, he became France’s youngest president.

Emmanuel Macron was a banker and then turned into an economic advisor for the former president Francois Hollande. Emmanuel Macron became economic minister in 2014.

Macron’s triumph came by voters support for his policy platform for free market, pro-business ideas, handle social issues and his promises to support the European Union.

9 - 19th Session of India-Italy Joint Commission held in Rome

Joint Commission

19th Session of India-Italy Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation was held during 11th – 12th May, 2017 in Rome.

The Joint Commission was co-chaired by the Minister of Economic Development Mr. Carlo Calenda from the Italian side and by the Minister of Commerce and Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman from the Indian side.

Both Sides reiterated the importance of the JCEC towards the development of bilateral economic and trade relations through facilitating dialogue and enhancing cooperation on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

News 10 - North Korea carried out new ballistic missile test

North Korea

North Korea has carried out another ballistic missile test. The missile was launched near north-western Kusong, flying hundreds of miles then landing in the Sea of Japan.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in condemned the latest launch as a provocation. The US has described the missile test as a provocative behaviour and called for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.

A series of North Korean missile tests this year has sparked international alarm and raised tensions with the US.

News 11 - China, Pakistan inked 6 pacts to boost cooperation


China and Pakistan have signed six pacts to boost co-operation on the 46 billion US Dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The agreements included cooperation in framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, Economic and Technical Cooperation for Gwadar Airport and for East bay Expressway.

Three agreements were signed pertaining to economic and technical cooperation worth 3.4 billion yuan (about USD 490 million) for the strategic Gwadar port in southern Pakistan and East Bay expressway.

News 12 - Portugal won Eurovision 2017 Song Contest for the first time


Portugal won the Eurovision-2017 Song Contest for the first time ever with a melancholy ballad performed by a singer who suffers from a serious heart condition.

The fado-tinged song "Amar Pelos Dois" was performed by 27-year old Salvador Sobral, who is awaiting a heart transplant.

It scored a crushing victory, winning top marks both from the televoters and the countries' professional juries. Bulgaria's big-voiced 17-year old singer Kristian Kostov came second with a confident performance of "Beautiful Mess". Third was Moldova's SunStroke Project with a raucous song called "Hey, Mamma".

News 13 - Hubert Minnis elected as new prime minister of Bahamas

Hubert Minnis

The Bahamas has elected Hubert Minnis of the Free National Movement (FNM) as the new Prime Minister of the country. He defeated Perry Christie's Progressive Liberal Party in a 34-5 parliamentary split.

Mr Minnis was sworn in by Governor General Marguerite Pindling. Christie, who was finishing his second non-consecutive term as prime minister, was dogged by scandals and double- digit unemployment. Minnis campaigned on a platform of change.

News 14 - WHO declared Ebola outbreak in Congo


World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an Ebola outbreak in Congo. WHO Congo representative Allarangar Yokouide said that at least one person has died after contracting the virus in the country's north-east.

WHO described the outbreak as a public health crisis of international importance. The teams of experts, including epidemiologists, biologists and hygiene specialists had been dispatched to the region.

More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

News 15 - Nepal inked MoU with China on Cooperation under OBOR initiative


Nepal has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China on Cooperation under One Belt and One Road, OBOR initiative.

The MoU seeks to strengthen cooperation in connectivity sectors including transit transport, logistic systems, transport network and related infrastructures development such as railway, road, civil aviation, power grid, information and communication.

The major thrust of the MoU is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between Nepal and China in various fields including economy, environment, technology and culture.

News 16 - Brazil Declared End to Zika Emergency

Zika Emergency

Brazil has declared an end to its public health emergency for the Zika virus. The announcement came 18 months after a surge in cases made headlines across the world. The World Health Organization lifted its own international emergency in November 2016.

Zika could lead to severe birth defects. One of those defects, microcephaly, causes babies to be born with skulls much smaller than expected. One of those defects, microcephaly, causes babies to be born with skulls much smaller than expected.

News 17 - Amnesty International launched new global campaign 'Brave'


Amnesty International launched a new global campaign 'Brave' to fight against a growing wave of attacks against those defending human rights.

According to Front Line Defenders' estimated, six human rights defenders were killed in India in 2016 and activists using the RTI to expose human rights abuses, corruption and environmental issues.

The new Brave campaign calls on states to recognise the legitimate work of those working to stand up for the inherent dignity and equal rights of all people, and to ensure their freedom and safety under the United Nations declaration adopted in 1998.

News 18 - Yemen declared state of emergency over cholera outbreak


Yemen declared a state of emergency in the capital, Sanaa, due to a deadly outbreak of cholera. The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the disease killed at least 115 people and left more than 8,000 others infected across the country between April 27 and May 13.

According to the World Health Organization, Sanaa has been worst hit. The ministry launched an appeal for help from international humanitarian organizations to deal with the crisis. The World Health Organization now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world.

News 19 - Headquarters of IPHRC of OIC inaugurated in Saudi Arabia


The headquarters of Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was inaugurated at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Adel Al-Jubeir and Secretary General of OIC Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen jointly inaugurated the headquarter.

The headquarters will help promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Muslim world through provision of objective and neutral views on many human rights issues, in accordance with international rules and in consonance with Islamic principles.

News 20 - India-Chile expanded PTA comes into implementation


India and Chile have entered into another milestone in their trade relations as an agreement on expansion of India-Chile PTA which was signed on 6th September 2016, is finally being implemented on 16th May, 2017. The Union Cabinet had approved the expansion of PTA in April, 2016.

The expanded PTA has a wider coverage wherein Chile has offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines and India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 tariff lines.

News 21 - India and Palestine signed 5 MoUs

5 MoUs

India and Palestine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed five agreements such as visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder, agriculture cooperation, cooperation in IT & Electronics, health sector and youth affairs and sports.

India has provided support of material & technical assistance and is building a techno Park in Ramallah at the cost of $12 million. Palestine praised India for supporting it in numerous international forums and its efforts in combating Terrorism.

India has arranged for Palestine’s participation in the International Yoga Day to be held in June 2017.

News 22 - French President Emmanuel Macron selected Edouard Philippe as new Prime Minister

Edouard Philippe

Édouard Philippe, mayor of the Normandy port town Le Havre was appointed as new Prime minister of France by France’s centrist president, Emmanuel Macron.

46-year-old Edouard Philippe would be the second-youngest Prime Minister of France after Laurent Fabius. Édouard Philippe is a member of the Les Républicains party.

The announcement of appointment taken by President was to destabilise the already divided French right and win over rightwing politicians to his La République en Marche (La REM) movement. Edouard Philippe has also been an author and an advocate.

News 23 - Japan cabinet approved bill allowing emperor's abdication


The Japanese government approved a one-off bill allowing ageing Emperor Akihito to step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne, in the first such abdication in two centuries.

The bill is likely to receive final approval in parliament. Abdication must take place within three years of the bill becoming law.

Earlier this year reports suggested that 83-year-old Akihito could step down at the end of December 2018 and be replaced by Crown Prince Naruhito on January 1, 2019.

News 24 - China, ASEAN agree on framework for South China Sea code of conduct


China and Southeast Asian countries have agreed to a draft framework for a long-mooted code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea.

Senior officials have completed the negotiations of the draft code of conduct (COC) framework, ahead of the mid-2017 timeline which leaders of ASEAN and China had set.

The draft COC framework will be submitted to the foreign ministers for consideration. China and the ASEAN had been hoping to agree on the framework this year, 15 years after committing to draft it.

News 25 - US and Saudi Arabia signed defence deals

defence deals

US President Donald Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia signed 110 billion dollar defence deals to support the long term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of the Iranian influence and Iran related threats.

The two nations also signed a Joint Strategic Vision Statement promising close collaboration to counter violent extremism, disrupt the financing of terrorism, and advance defence cooperation.

News 26 - Asia-Pacific trade ministers agreed to revive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal


Asia-Pacific trade ministers have agreed to revive the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite US President Donald Trump abandoning it. Trade Ministers from the 11 remaining countries have met in Vietnam to get the deal back on track.

The bid to restore the TPP, which would have covered 40% of the global economy, was led by trade Ministers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The representatives also agreed to help the US rejoin the deal at any time.

News 27 - Hassan Rouhani re-elected as Iran’s President

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected as the President of Iran. Rouhani defeated his conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi and garnered 57% of the vote. He will serve the office for another four years of term.

Rouhani was elected as president for his first term in 2013. He is a lawyer, academic and a former diplomat. He had spent 16 years as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which is Iran’s top security post.

News 28 - NATO to join US-led anti-Islamic state coalition


NATO Member States are expected to formally join a US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed group in Syria and Iraq.

It comes on the back of pressure from US President Donald Trump, who has urged NATO members to do more in the fight against ISIL.

Trump is also expected to urge NATO members to increase defence spending to the target of two percent of a country's annual gross domestic product, as they agreed in 2014.

News 29 - Lenin Moreno became new Ecuador president

Lenin Moreno

64-year-old Lenin Moreno was sworn in as Ecuador's president with 99.65% of the votes and his vice president Jorge Glass won 149 votes.

He defeated Guillermo Lasso, who was a banker and lost elections by 2.3% margin votes. Lenin has promised to continue anti-poverty programs with more open dialogue with adversaries.

Moreno promised to focus on private investment to help up bring the dollarized Ecuadorean economy. Moreno’s cabinet includes various business executives including trade ministers.

News 30 - UN released first draft of nuclear ban treaty

nuclear ban treaty

In order to eliminate nuclear weapons, UN disarmament panel released the first draft of nuclear ban treaty. The decision was taken in the wake of all countries, when North Korea has threatened to launch nuclear-armed missiles at its enemies.

According to treaty, the nuclear draft text would commit treaty signers to “never use nuclear weapons”, never “develop, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” and never “carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.”