Current Affairs Nov 2017 - International
1 - China blocks bid to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist
China blocked bid by the US, France and the UK to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
China said it has rejected the move, as "there is no consensus". A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India's move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. This is the second year in succession that China has blocked the resolution.
2 - 'Fake news' named word of the year 2017
Fake news, a term heavily popularized by US President Donald Trump, has been named the word of the year by Collins dictionary due to its widespread use around the world. The UK-based dictionary writer found that the use of this word registered a 365% rise in the last 12 months.
Fake news takes over from Brexit - which was named the definitive word last year after the June 2016 referendum in favor of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Other words on 2017 shortlist included "genderfluid", "fidget spinner", and "gig economy".
3 - Belgium's King and Queen arrived on a 7-day visit to India
Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde arrived in New Delhi on a seven-day visit to India. This is King Philippe's first state visit to India after his ascension to the throne in 2013. The aim of their visit was to boost overall cooperation between the two countries with a focus on further ramping up trade and investment ties.
India is Belgium's second largest export destination and the third largest trading partner outside the European Union. King Philippe attended an India-Belgium Business Forum meeting.
4 - China revealed Asia's largest artificial magical island-maker vessel
China became first country to unveil Asia’s largest magical island maker vessel. It appears to be like a big massive ship. The unique feature of ship is that it can build artificial islands, similar to that of which China has built in South China Sea.
China has named ship as Tian Kun Hao, capable of digging 6,000 cubic meters an hour. Tian Kun Hao is considered as the most powerful of Asia. Ship is also termed as "magic island maker".
5 - The 2017 World Youth Forum held in Egypt
The five-day ‘World Youth Forum’ was held at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in the supervision of President of Egypt Mr. Abdelfateh El Sisi. The Forum aimed to provide a platform to the youth from all over the globe to engage with the key global policy makers. The forum covered role of youth in business and innovation, challenges and making of future leaders, gender equity and women empowerment among other things.
World Youth Forum also launched official opening song, "I dream of a world where everyone would live in peace".
6 - Trump, Putin issued joint statement on fighting ISIS in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump agreed on a joint statement on Syria stating that there was no military solution to the conflict and political one was needed. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin approved the statement on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
In their joint statement, the two world leaders repeated the urgency of destroying the Islamic State. They agreed to maintain open military channels of communication among army professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces.
7 - Guinea became member of International Solar Alliance
Guinea became member of International Solar Alliance. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj taken over Guinea's instrument accession to the India-initiated International Solar Alliance from Guinea's Foreign Minister, Mamady Toure, during a meeting. With this membership, India will support Guinea’s development through line of credit.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries that aims to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The formation of alliance was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at India Africa Summit.
8 - UNESCO appointed France Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay as its new head
The General Conference of UNESCO appointed France culture minister Audrey Azoulay to the post of Director-General of the Organization, replacing Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova. Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova finished her 8-year term of service. With this appointment, Audrey Azoulay will be called as the 11 Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman in that position.
Prior to this appointment, she has served as France’s Minister of Culture and Communication. Audrey has experience of working as Deputy Audiovisual Director and Director of Financial and Legal Affairs at France’s National Cinema Centre.
9 - India re-elected as a member on UNESCO’s executive board
UN educational, scientific and cultural organization re-elected India as its member of the executive board. The election was made at 39th session of the General Conference of the UNESCO in Paris, France followed by announcement of its voting results.
UNESCO’s Executive Board conference is organized in every 2 years. It was attended by member states and associate members, observers for non-member states, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. UNESCO executive board members are elected in every 4 years, to plan and conduct the programs and the budget of the UNESCO.
10 - EU launched election observation mission for Nepal electoral process
In order to have check over general and provincial polls in Nepal, European Union launched election observation mission. Nepal provincial polls are scheduled to happen from 26 November to 7 December 2017. European Union has deployed 100 election observers from 38 member countries of EU. The entire election observation process will cost 3.5 million euro.
Under the election observation mission, Kathmandu based 10 election analysts will monitor electoral process and these analysts will be joined by seven member parliamentary delegation from the European Union.
11 - The first WHO global ministerial conference on ending TB, held in Russia
Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare reaffirmed India’s commitment to eliminating TB by 2025 at 1st WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Sustainable Development Era’ at Moscow, Russia. The Ministerial and High-Level meetings offered participating nations the potential to strengthen and energize the discourse on TB.
These meetings are perhaps the biggest window for global action on TB in the near future. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organized a side event at the conference on ‘Ending TB: Our Promise to Our People’ assisted by Global Coalition against TB.
12 - UN surveyed Afghan opium production raised to 87%
The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Opium Survey 2017 reported that Afghanistan revealed an 87% production increase compared to 2016. According to survey, the international community and Afghanistan should reprioritize drug control, and acknowledge that every nation has a shared responsibility for this global problem.
The report stated that 87% rose to a record level of 9,000 metric tonnes in 2017 and the area under opium poppy cultivation also increased to a record 328,000 hectares in 2017 up 63% compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016.
13 - The 31st ASEAN Summit 2017 held
The 31st ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit was held in Manila, Philippines. 2017 year marked the 50th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The theme of ASEAN summit was “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”.
Leaders discussed the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and signed the historical ASEAN Consensus on the ‘Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers of Southeast Asia’. Various other MoUs on ASEAN-Hong Kong, China (AHKFTA) Free Trade Agreement, and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Investment Agreement were inked.
14 - International Solar Alliance founding ceremony held in Germany
International Solar Alliance founding ceremony was held at Bonn, Germany. The ISA was jointly launched in November 2015 by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and then-President of France, H.E. François Hollande, on the sidelines of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 21 (CoP21) at Paris, France.
The ISA is a treaty-based alliance of 121 prospective solar-rich Member Nations situated fully or partially between the Tropics, and aims at accelerating development and deployment of solar energy globally. ISA will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation, for which 44 countries have already signed the ISA treaty.
15 - Borut Pahor won second term Slovenia’s presidential elections
Borut Pahor won the second term in Slovenia’s Presidential Elections by 53% votes against former actor and Ljubljana’s mayor Marjan Sarec. Borut Pahor won a five-year mandate and became the second two-term president since 1991. Pahor is famously known as “King of Instagram” for his frequent use of social media.
Slovenia’s presidency carries no executive powers, but the office-holder proposes a prime minister and his or her opinion on important issues such as the privatization of Slovenia’s biggest bank and the composition of the country’s anti-corruption body.
16 - Saudi Arabia approved practice of yoga as a sport
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has agreed to recognize the teaching and practice of yoga as a sports activity. At present, there are five recognized yoga schools in Saudi Arabia where schools offer workshops and training on meditation techniques and specialized classes in various forms of yoga. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that helps in being healthy. It was originated in ancient India.
Other sports of Saudi Arabia include horse and camel racing, football, basketball, rugby union, ice hockey, falconry, soccer and hunting with hounds.
17 - World's first all-electric cargo ship was unveiled by China
World's first all-electric ship was unveiled by China. The 70.5-metre-long ship can travel up to 80 km with 2000-tonnes cargo after a two-hour charge. Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd made vessel is powered by 26-tonne lithium battery. Electric ships have benefit of protecting water quality and aqua life. Electric ship can be used as a passenger liner or a working ship.
Some other countries like Norway has also announced the launching of all electric and autonomous cargo ships by 2018.
18 - UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference 2017 held in Canada
Canada hosted the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conference was the largest gathering of Defence ministers dedicated to UN Peacekeeping with more than 550 delegates from some 79 countries and 5 international organizations.
The goals the conference were to encourage new pledges from member states, to advance peacekeeping reform, to improve the UN’s capacity to better plan and perform peacekeeping operations and measure the progress made since the 2016 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial. Around 54 countries endorsed the Vancouver Principles on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in peacekeeping operations.
19 - Minister of Commerce and Industry in Russia participated in Shanghai Cooperation organization meeting
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Suresh Prabhu participated in Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meeting of the Ministers of Member States responsible for Foreign Economic and Foreign Trade in Russia. This was the first Ministerial Conference on Trade organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after India became a full member of the Organization in June 2017.
The Minister of Commerce discussed the current level of bilateral trade between India and Russia and ways for its enhancement. They also discussed opportunities that the fast growing economy of India provides for doing business, particularly in the field of manufacturing.
20 - UK military dog awarded medal for saving troops in Afghanistan
UK special forces dog was awarded a medal equivalent of the country's highest military honour for his role in saving hundreds of troops during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. The eight-year-old dog was instrumental in assisting troops to clear militants from a Kabul tower block despite suffering serious shrapnel injuries.
Mali, a Belgian Malinois, was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal - the equivalent of the human Victoria Cross - for his heroic actions in sniffing out Taliban booby traps during a highly sensitive military operation in 2012.
21 - Argentina hosted the fourth Global Conference on sustained eradication of child labour
The IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina concluded with a call to action to accelerate efforts to end child labour by 2025 and forced labour by 2030, and to generate more decent employment opportunities for young people around the world.
The Buenos Aires Declaration was delivered and 3,000 people signed up to attend plenary sessions and panel discussions. The conference concluded with series of principles that highlighted the commitment to respect human rights as well as fundamental principles in the best interests of children and adolescents.
22 - US President Trump declared North Korea state sponsor of terrorism
US President Donald Trump has declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism with an aim to impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea had been removed from the list of state sponsor of terrorism under the George W Bush administration in 2008. According to Mr. Trump, North Korea threatened the world by nuclear devastation and repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil.
23 - Bangladesh and Myanmar sign Rohingya repatriation deal
Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed a deal on the repatriation of Rohingyas with no specific deadline, but with high hopes that the refugees will start returning to their homeland in Rakhine State within the next 2 months.
The two neighboring countries struck the deal in Naypyidaw. Bangladesh had sought to keep a provision for a specific period for completing the repatriation process, but Myanmar wants to keep it an open-ended process. There was also no agreement on the involvement of the international community especially the UN agencies in the verification process.
24 - The USA and Russia agree to support UN in Syrian peace process
The US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed plans to peacefully resolve the Syrian civil war, end the humanitarian crisis, allow displaced Syrians to return home, and ensure the stability of a unified Syria free of malign intervention and terrorist safe havens.
The two leaders agreed to support the U.N. effort to "peacefully resolve" the nearly seven-year-long Syrian civil war. They also discussed ways to implement a lasting peace in Ukraine.
25 - Emmerson Mnangagwa elected as new President of Zimbabwe
Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe's President, marking the final chapter of a political drama that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe after a military takeover. Mnangagwa took the oath of office at the national sports stadium on the outskirts of Harare before thousands of supporters, dignitaries and foreign diplomats.
The former President, who ruled the southern African country for 37 autocratic years, was ousted from office when the military intervened after he had sacked Mnangagwa as Vice President.
26 - Asian Development Bank inked MoU to provide 150 million USD loan to Nepal
The Asian Development Bank will provide a 150 million USD loan to Nepal to improve its urban infrastructure. ADB and Nepal signed the agreement for investment that will cover eight municipalities located in southern Terai and far west of Nepal.
The project will be completed within five years and is expected to enhance urban infrastructure in the Terai region, reduce the flooding duration to less than an hour in its eight municipalities.
27 - Victoria became first Australian state to legalize euthanasia
In Australia, the state of Victoria has legalized assisted dying. The state Parliament voted in favor of bill. It was approved after more than 100 hours of debate including two all night sittings. The law means terminally ill patients in Australia's second-most populous state will have the right to request a lethal drug from mid-2019.
The law is designed for patients who are in severe pain and has 68 safeguards, including, making three requests to specially trained doctors in order to end their life and a special board must review all cases.
28 - Britain appointed Karen Pierce as its new Ambassador to UN
Britain appointed Karen Pierce as its new Ambassador to the UN, replacing incumbent Matthew Rycroft under whom it suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of India in the recent election to the International Court of Justice.
Pierce is the first woman appointed to this role. She had previously served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, and more recently as the Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. Britain's Permanent Mission to the United Nations did not give any reason for appointing Pierce as new ambassador to the world body.
29 - India pledged additional USD 100 Million to UN Partnership Fund
India-UN Development Partnership Fund was set up to help in achievement of sustainable development goals. Various countries contributed to various UN Funds and Programs with a total amount of USD 398.98 million at the UN Pledging Conference for the year 2017.
Government of India has additionally contributed amount of USD 100 million to USD 10.582 million that India has already contributed to various other UN programs. With this fund, UN will work on various projects such as reconstruction in Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, which took a big hit from hurricanes.