Current Affairs Nov 2016 - International


News 1 - Mariano Rajoy re-elected as Spain’s prime minister

Mariano Rajoy

Mariano Rajoy was re-elected as Prime Minister of Spain by winning parliamentary vote by a margin of 170-111. The measures taken by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the growth of economy at 3% rate even after Spain being 2nd highest in unemployment rate, was appreciated by the public.

Rajoy was elected as the Prime Minister in 2011 by complete majority vote. Spain had tried to enforce a coalition government but by the rise of the left-wing Podemos and centrist Ciudadanos, as well as other regional parties, the process had become complicated.

News 2 - Australia announces 19 grants worth $6.3 million for projects with India

Australia Project with India

In order to strengthen ties with India, Australia announced investment in 19 projects with India of worth $6,30,000 in various fields like education, science, sports, telecom, arts and culture.

Majorly, it includes design of a website by Women's Legal Service Tasmania and TRS Law Offices in India to make available young Indian women with information about their rights.

Literary and theatrical areas involve development of new approaches to music curriculum and facilitate ongoing exchanges with New Colombo Plan students.

News 3 - WHO advises proper washing in fight against hospital superbugs


World Health Organisation issued new guidelines aimed at halting the spread of potentially deadly superbug infections in hospitals and clinics worldwide.

The guidelines range from simple precautions such as ensuring patients take a bath or shower before surgery to advice on when to give antibiotics to prevent infections, what disinfectants are best before incision, and which sutures doctors should use.

According to WHO figures, some 11 per cent of patients in poor and middle-income countries who have surgery pick up an infection during their operation.

News 4 - 4th Session of India-Azerbaijan Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation


The 4th Session of India-Azerbaijan InterGovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IA-IGC) was held on 25-26 October, 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan under the Co-chairmanship of Shri Sunil Kumar, Joint Secretary, FT (CIS) Division, Department of Commerce.

The issues pertaining to Cooperation in the field of increasing bilateral trade and enhancing bilateral investment, Cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises, Transport, Energy were discussed and at the end of the deliberations, a protocol was signed by both sides.

News 5 - UK announced new visa policy for non-EU nationals


UK announced changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals, which will affect a large number of Indians especially IT professionals.

Under the new visa rules, anyone applying from now onwards under the Tier 2 intracompany transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds.

Nationals outside the European Union, will be affected by new English language requirements when applying for settlement as a family member after two and a half years in the UK on a five-year route to residency settlement in the UK.

News 6 - UK High Court puts brakes on Brexit

UK High Court

Britain Government will fight a High Court ruling that could frustrate its timetable for Brexit, as 17.4 million Leave voters had given the government the biggest mandate in history to leave the EU.

The High Court ruled that the Government cannot start exit negotiations without a vote in Parliament.

Prime Minister Theresa May will use royal prerogative to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty, which launches two years of exit negotiations. The powers enable decisions about international treaties and other issues to be made without a vote of Parliament.

News 7 - India - Sri Lanka Meeting on Fishermen issues

India - Sri Lanka

India–Sri Lanka fisherman meeting was held on issues in New Delhi. In order to reduce fishing pressure in the coastal areas and to encourage the Deep-sea fishing the Government of India considered the modalities for implementation of a Scheme, in which it was proposed to incentivize the traditional fishermen for Deep-Sea Fishing.

At the same time, efforts were also being made regarding construction of fishing harbors at Rameshvaram and Ennore in Tamil Nadu, to solve the fishermen issues between India and Sri Lanka. Besides, meeting empathized to introduce modern technical information to the fishermen and train them.

News 8 - New Delhi Declaration, Asian Regional Plan adopted at AMCDRR 2016


The three-day Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 came to an end with the adoption of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ and the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’.

The ‘New Delhi Declaration’ is a political statement spelling out the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk, and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region. It also emphasises the need to enhance the capacity of communities and ensure participation of all stakeholder groups towards achieving resilience.

News 9 - Latvia became first to link with Belt & Road Initiative in Baltic Sea area


Latvia has become the first country in the Baltic Sea area to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to link up with China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to boost connectivity and trade across Asia, Africa and Europe. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Li and Kucinskis also witnessed the signing of five agreements on cooperation in such areas as small and medium-sized enterprises, transportation and logistics.

News 10 - Sri Lankan President arrived in India for global anti-tobacco conference

Anti-Tobacco Conference

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in New Delhi to take part in a global anti-tobacco conference hosted in Greater Noida on the outskirts of Delhi.

Sri Lankan President, who served as the Minister of Health during the previous government, is a strong advocate of tobacco control and successfully implemented laws to display pictorial warnings up to 80 percent on both sides of cigarette packets.

The convention was attended by 180 countries as well as regional economic integration organizations like the European Union.

News 11 - More than 2200 migrants rescued in Mediterranean


More than 2,200 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean as they tried to reach Europe and 10 bodies were recovered. The migrants were picked up from 13 rubber dinghies, two small boats and one large vessel in 16 separate rescue operations.

4,220 migrants had died in the Mediterranean so far in 2016, compared with 3,777 in the whole of 2015. As of November 2 2016, 159,496 people had reached Italy by sea.

News 12 - Nicaraguan President wins third consecutive term in office


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega won a third consecutive term in office. With two-thirds of the votes counted, the left-wing leader secured an irreversible lead with 72 per cent. Centre right candidate Maximino Rodriguez, only had 14.2 per cent of the vote.

Mr Ortega has led Nicaragua through a period of economic stability which has made him popular with Nicaragua's business sector and foreign investors.

Mr Ortega had been widely expected to win both due to the popularity of his social programmes and because he faced no obvious political challenger.

News 13 - Sinhala & Tamil to get equal status along with English as third official language in Sri Lanka

Sinhala and Tamil

In Sri Lanka, Minister for official language has advocated for providing Sinhala and Tamil language equal status along with making English as the third official language for the country.

Nearly one-fourth of the country's population is Tamil speaking but most of them cannot interact and mingle with rest of the population because of the language barrier.

The Minister asserted that bridging of language identity will go a long way in solving the ethnic problem of the country, which has led to three decades long war.

Mr. Ganeshan, who represent the Tamils of Indian origin in Sri Lanka, expressed skepticism at the progress made in last one year towards reconciliation.

News 14 - China adopted law on cybersecurity


China adopted a cybersecurity law to safeguard sovereignty on cyber space, national security and the rights of citizens. The law was passed by China's legislature, the National People's Congress.

According to the new law, the government will take measures to monitor, defend and handle cybersecurity risks and threats originating from within the country or overseas sources, protecting key information infrastructure from attack, intrusion, disturbance and damage. Efforts will also be made to punish criminal activities online and safeguard the order and security of cyberspace.

News 15 - China passed interpretation of Hong Kong's Basic Law

Hong Kong's Basic Law

China's Parliament passed an interpretation of Hong Kong's Basic Law. The interpretation amounts to Beijing's most direct intervention in the territory’s legal system since the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.

The prospect of the ruling, expected to bar two pro-independence lawmakers from taking office in Hong Kong's legislature, had sparked protests in the city.

News 16 - India raised issue of visa fees, student visa with UK

Visa with UK

India raised the issue of visa fees, student visa as Britain has ceased to be a preferred destination for students wanting to pursue higher studies in British universities.

The UK visa regime discourages a lot of Indian students from going to Britain and they are now preferring other destinations.

On issues related to the IT visa fee are also being discussed. India would want them to consider Indian professionals who want to go to the UK as part of a company or group which has won a project.

News 17 - Germany unveiled world's first zero-emissions hydrogen train

Hydrogen Train

World's first zero-emission, hydrogen passenger train unveiled by Germany termed as ‘Coradia iLint’ to be in operations soon. The train which is powered by a hydrogen fuel tank on its roof, emits excess steam into the atmosphere. It is designed and developed by French rail company Alstom.

Hydrail has fuel cell, supplied with hydrogen and oxygen from the air, which it converts into electrical energy with low level of noise. It has hydrogen storage capacity for a 497-mile range with speed of 87 mph.

News 18 - Trump became 45th President of United States beating Hillary Clinton


Donald Trump became 45th US President after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton ending eight years of Democratic rule and sending the United States on a new path.

The Republican nominee defied pre-election polling to claim swing states, winning the key battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Global markets plummeted, with the US dollar diving and gold prices surging. As poll counting went late into the night, it was Mr Trump's shock victory in Wisconsin that put him over the 270 out of 538 electoral-college votes needed to win the White House.

News 19 - Five people of Indian origin elected to the US congress

Five People

Five Indian-Americans were elected to the US Congress. Indian-American women put up a good show in the 2016 elections, with Kamala Harris, 51, a two-term attorney general from California, created history by winning the US Senate seat from the state.

Pramila Jayapal, 51, won the Congressional seat from Seattle to enter the House of Representatives, the first Indian-American woman to accomplish this feat.

News 20 - India pledged USD 10.95 mn for UN development activities

UN Development Activities

India pledged about 10.95 million dollar for development activities across several UN bodies for the year 2017, besides processing contribution for the Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and for the Victims of Torture and UN Volunteers, at a Pledging Conference for Development Activities in Geneva.

India announced contribution of about 10.95 million dollar development activities for 2017, including 4.5 million dollar for the UN Development Programme, 1.92 million dollar for the World Food Programme, 1.25 million dollar for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Near East and a million dollars towards UN Women.

News 21 - Bilateral Trade agreement inked between India and Bhutan

India and Bhutan

Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and H.E. Tengye Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, Minister for Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan signed the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

The new bilateral Trade Agreement aims to enhance trade between the two countries through trade facilitation by improving procedures, cutting down on documentation and adding additional exit/entry points for Bhutan’s trade with other countries. It is also expected to further strengthen the excellent relations between the two countries.

News 22 - Many UN members favor UNSC permanent seat for India

UN Member States

India's bid for a permanent seat in a reformed UN Security Council has received a strong support from many UN member states, including the UK and France. They emphasized that the world body's top organ must reflect the emergence of new global powers.

Among the large number of nations supporting a permanent seat for India and other emerging powers like Brazil and Germany, were two vetowielding permanent members of the Council, the United Kingdom and France.

News 23 - India to preside next edition of COP in Geneva in 2018


India will preside the eighth edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which to be held in Switzerland's Geneva in 2018.

CK Mishra has been chosen as the President of the COP Bureau, for the next two years, after a unanimous decision by the COP7 Plenary session.

The World Health Organizations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the world's biggest convention to frame the anti-tobacco policies.

News 24 - Colombia, FARC rebels announced new peace deal to end 52-year war

Peace Deal

The Colombian government and the FARC rebel group announced a new peace agreement, six weeks after the original deal was rejected in a popular vote.

Alvaro Uribe, a former President who led the no campaign, was involved in this round of negotiations intended to end 52 years of civil war.

A joint statement has reached a new final agreement to end the armed conflict, which incorporates changes, clarifications and some new contributions from various social groups.

News 25 - India, Myanmar and Thailand Friendship Motor Car Rally, 2016 Flagged-off

Motor Car Rally

The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Lal Mandaviya flagged off a Friendship Motor Car Rally from Delhi to Bangkok. The objective of the rally was to improve connectivity by road in the South-East Asian region and to sensitize the stakeholders of India Myanmar and Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement regarding potential benefits of such a regulatory regime.

The rally will further cement cultural and economic ties among the three nations.

News 26 - India, Israel inked two agreements on water resource management and agriculture

India and Israel

India and Israel inked two agreements in the field of water resources management and agriculture following the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in New Delhi.

The two countries also agreed to enhance their cooperation against the growing threat of terrorism. The bilateral trade between the two nations reached $5.19 billion in 2011. Since then it has stagnated around $4.5 billion.

News 27 - India elected as Vice Chair of Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme for 2018

Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme

India was elected as the Vice Chair for 2018 and Chair for 2019 of KPCS. The announcement was made at the recently held KP Plenary Meeting 2016 at Dubai.

Earlier, India had held this position of KP Chair in 2008. Vice Chair of WGS will also help India in preparing to take bigger responsibility of the Chair seamlessly.

India has been an important member in the world gem and jewellery industry and this position as chair of KPCS reinforces our position and acceptance by the world.

News 28 - COP 22 Concluded at Marrakech, Overall Outcomes Represent Forward Movement in Climate Action

Climate Action

The “Marrakech Action Proclamation for our climate and sustainable development” captured the sense of urgency to take action on climate change, while ensuring sustainable development.

It initiated work on Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement. The Pre-2020 action, including mobilization of $ 100 billion per year and other support to developing countries was a key element of the Proclamation.

India participated in the Facilitative Dialogue on Pre-2020 actions and highlighted various time-bound actions that can be taken to bridge the emission gap and provide accelerated support to developing countries.

News 29 - Turkish PM withdraws controversial Underage marriage bill

Binali Yildirim

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has withdrawn a bill that pardons men convicted of sex with underage girls if they have married them. The bill, part of a package of amendments to the legal system, was sent back for further work just hours before a final vote in Parliament.

UN agencies had called on the government not to approve the bill, arguing that it would damage the country's ability to combat sexual abuse and child marriage.

News 30 - APEC leaders vow to keep markets open and fight against protectionism


The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation reaffirmed the commitment to keep their markets open and fight against all forms of protectionism.

In a closing statement after meeting of the group at Lima in Peru, they pledged to work towards a sweeping new free trade agreement despite the political climate.

The talks were dominated by doubts over the future of free trade and in particular the TransPacific Partnership trade pact following the election of Donald Trump as President of United States.

News 31 - Russian foreign ministry announced its withdrawal from International Criminal Court

Vladimir Putin

Since prosecutors announced that Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 could be considered as an act of war, an order was signed by Russian President ‘Vladimir Putin’ stating that the country has withdrawn all support from International Criminal Court treaty.

The founding treaty of the International Criminal Court was already signed by Russia in 2000, which states that Russia was never its member and could not be subjected to its jurisdiction. Recently, South Africa, Gambia and Burundi also withdrew their memberships.

News 32 - India becomes Associate Member of CERN, Geneva


India and European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) signed an agreement making India an Associate Member State of CERN. This follows CERN Council’s adoption of the resolution to this effect on September 15, 2016.

As an Associate Member of CERN, India will be a part of the huge scientific and technological endeavor. The India-CERN association as a whole is interdisciplinary in nature and the involvement of physicists, electronics hardware and software engineers will pave the path for overall knowledge development in the best possible way.

News 33 - Intelligence sharing deal with Japan, approved by South Korea cabinet


General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was approved by South Korean cabinet and further inked between the South Korean defence chief and Japanese ambassador for sharing intelligence information on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and military information.

Previously, trilateral deal was signed in 2014 between Japan, US and South Korea but since it was a cumbersome process, now it is signed between two countries. However, the agreement might enhance threat to peace and security in northeast Asia and the world.

News 34 - 24th edition of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation held in Peru


24th edition of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was organized in Lima, Peru based on theme “Quality Growth and Human Development” which was concluded with adoption of the 2016 Leaders Declaration. It was a joint pledge to work following a new free trade agreement that would include all 21 members as a move towards sustainable development.

Other themes that were discussed were human capital development, development of SMEs, upbringing of regional food market and regional economic integration agenda.

News 35 - China 'green' sector seen growing to 3% of GDP by 2020: Official


China expects the output value of its energy saving and environmental protection industry to rise from 4.5 trillion yuan (that is, 653 billion dollars) last year to more than 10 trillion by 2020, lifting its share of gross domestic product from 2.1% to 3%.

The Chinese government approved a "five-year plan" for the environment earlier this month, promised to make significant decrease in total emissions and bring environmental risks in effective control by 2020.

News 36 - Turkey to chair 2017 Energy Club of SCO

Energy Club

Turkey will chair the Energy Club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017. Turkey, thus became the first non-member country to do so after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at joining the nonWestern body instead of the EU.

Turkey applied for “dialogue partnership” in SCO in 2011 and its status was approved in June 2012. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Sri Lanka are members of the SCO Energy Club.

News 37 - 7000-year-old city unearthed in Egypt

Egyptian Archaeologists

Egyptian Archaeologists have discovered a 7,000-Year-Old lost city along the Nile in Egypt’s southern province of Sohag. The city lies 400 metres away from the Temple of Seti the First in the Egyptian city of Abydos.

Archaeologists have found 15 huge graves, some of which are larger than the royal graves discovered in Abydos. They also found iron tools and pottery, plus 15 giant tombs. The discovery might be a boon for the tourism industry in Egypt.

News 38 - Francois Fillon wins France's Conservative Presidential primary

Francois Fillon

Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has won France's Conservative Presidential primary, beating rival Alain Juppe. In the first U.S. style primary contest for French Republicans, Fillon, won 68 percent of the vote against Juppe, another former Prime Minister.

He is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right's Marine Le Pen in next April's election. During the campaign, ex-Prime Minister Fillon proposed economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.

News 39 - Lieutenant-General Qamar Javed Bajwa appointed Pakistan's 16th COAS

Qamar Javed Bajwa

Lieutenant-General Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed as Pakistan's new COAS, or Chief of Army Ataff. He will replace General Raheel Sharif. Lt General Bajwa is currently Inspector General (training and evaluation) at the general headquarters of the Pakistan army.

Lieutenant-General Qamar Javed Bajwa also served as a peacekeeper in the UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander. He holds extensive experience in dealing with affairs related to Kashmir and the northern areas of Pakistan.

News 40 - Pink invited for special screening at UN Headquarter


Amitabh Bachchan starrer Pink, which dealt with crime against women, has been invited for a special screening at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The film throws light on the issue of sexual harassment and other crimes against women in Delhi and other parts of the country. The film also starred Taapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang and Kirti Kulhari in lead roles. The movie was directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and released on September 16.