Current Affairs October 2016 - International


News 1 - Kersti Kaljulaid voted as first female President of Estonia

Kersti Kaljulaid

Kersti Kaljulaid has been elected as the new President of Estonia. She became the first female president of the country. She is also the youngest person to get elected as President of Estonia. She is the Estonian representative to the European Court of Auditors.

Kaljulaid will succeed the current president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Kersti Kaljulaid is trained biologist specialising in genetics and holds an MBA from University of Tartu as well.

News 2 - European Parliament ratifies Paris climate deal

European Parliament

The European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the ratification of the Paris climate deal, in a vote attended by UN Chief Ban KiMoon. It paves the way for the landmark pact to come into force globally.

The accord needs ratification from 55 countries that account for at least 55 percent of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. A total of 62 countries have ratified the agreement to commit to take action to stem the planet's rising temperatures. EU ratification will bring it over 55 percent threshold.

News 3 - France became first country to ban plastic plates and cups

Ban Plastic

France became the first country in the world to ban plastic plates, cups and utensils, passing a law that will go into effect in 2020. Exceptions will be allowed for items made of compostable, biosourced materials.

The new law is a part of the country’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act. The move is part of the French government’s project to transition to green energy. In July, France also banned plastic bags from supermarkets, shops, and markets that were thicker than 50 microns (0.05 millimeters).

News 4 - Powerful typhoon Chaba to hit Japan

Typhoon Chaba

Storm and heavy rain warnings were issued as powerful typhoon Chaba barrelled toward Japan, after lashing the southern coast of South Korea. The spped of the typhoon is estimated to be up to 180 kilometres (110 miles) per hour.

The violent storm passed over the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. The storm is set to hit Japan's main island of Honshu before moving out into the Pacific.

News 5 - Nearly 69 million new teachers needed to achieve global education goals

Global Education Goal

The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has issued statistics revealing that close to 69 million new teachers are needed to provide quality universal primary and secondary education by 2030, the deadline of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report was prepared by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). It was released on the occasion of World Teacher's Day, held under the theme Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status. According to this report, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest teacher gap and the region will need about 17 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030.

News 6 - President of India inaugurated first edition of World Sustainable Development Summit

World Sustainable Development Summit

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit on the theme ‘Beyond 2015: People, Planet and Progress’ organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi.

The World Sustainable Development Summit has evolved from the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, the annual event of TERI. The President presented the Sustainable Development Leadership Award to Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling, Chief of Minister of Sikkim.

News 7 - Hurricane Matthew Death toll mounts to 300 in Haiti

Hurricane Matthew Death

The death toll in Haiti because of Hurricane Matthew has soared to at least 842. Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, slammed into the Bahamas. It also slashed Florida with winds of 125 mph.

This hurricane has been upgraded from a category three to a category four storm. The US National Hurricane Centre has extended its hurricane warning area farther north into Georgia.

News 8 - India to host Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Asian Ministerial Conference

This first Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction after the advent of the Sendai Framework will be hosted by the Government of India in 02-05, November 2016. The AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The AMCDRR is an established regional mechanism for disaster risk reduction. The AMCDRR serves as a forum to take actionable commitments towards implementation of DRR in the Asia region.

News 9 - US lifts economic sanctions on Myanmar

Economic Sanctions

US President Barack Obama has issued an executive order to lift economic sanctions on Myanmar considering the political reforms in the Southeast Asian nation. The sanctions have been in place for nearly two decades. The economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were no longer in effect.

The US also added Myanmaar to the Generalised System of Preferences, a list which exempts certain countries from high import taxes.

News 10 - UNSC extends measures to curb migrant smuggling off Libyan coast


The United Nations Security Council extended its authorization for Member States to intercept vessels on the high seas suspected of being used for migrant smuggling and human trafficking, for a further period of one year. The resolution was passed by a vote of 14 in favour, to none against.

The Council called for Member States to consider ratifying or acceding to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

News 11 - Russia vetoed UN resolution aimed at stopping of bombing at Aleppo


Russia vetoed a French-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at stopping the bombing of Aleppo. The Franco-Spanish resolution had also called for a resumed ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to besieged population. Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, president of the council for October.

The Resolution received 11 votes in favor, while China and Angola abstained. Venezuela joined Russia in voting against it. Half of Syria's 22 million people have been uprooted and more than 400,000 killed.

News 12 - Pakistan Government barred a prominent journalist from leaving country


Pakistan government has barred prominent journalist, Cyril Almedia, from leaving the country. Cyril Almedia is a Coloumnist and Reporter for "The Dawn". He has been put on 'Exit Control List' by the Pakistan Government.

The development came less than a week after he wrote a story in the daily about the rift between civilian and military leaderships during a crucial meeting in which the ISI was told its support for terrorist groups was leaving the country globally isolated.

News 13 - Abdelilah Bekirane appointed for another term as PM in Morocco

Abdelilah Bekirane

Abdelilah Bekirane, leader of Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party has been appointed for another term as the country's Prime Minister. The PJD party, which has been running a coalition government since 2011, won 125 seats, while the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party came second with 102 seats.

Only 43 percent of the 16 million registered voters cast their ballot in Friday's elections. Benkirane has been serving as Prime Minister since November 2011.

News 14 - India donated Rs. 9.3 million to Mandela Foundation

Mandela Foundation

India donated 9.3 million rupees to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to help it in its welfare work for the people of South Africa. Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam said the donation was a direct result of the recent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was established in 1999 after the then President Nelson Mandela stepped down as the President of South Africa. The Government of India helped in the building of the Foundation's premises.

News 15 - Russia & Turkey agree to intensify military, intelligence contacts

Russia and Turkey

The Russian and Turkish leaders have agreed to intensify military and intelligence contacts after a meeting in Istanbul. After his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, they have agreed on the need for aid to get to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

The two countries have also signed a deal to construct two pipelines to send Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey. Ties were strained after Turkish forces downed a Russian war plane in November 2015.

News 16 - The 6th Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers calls for greater cooperation on e-commerce


The 6th meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers was held on 13th October, 2016 in New Delhi. The Trade Ministers meeting assessed the BRICS economic scenario in relation to areas of cooperation on trade and investment.

BRICS trade ministers have called for greater cooperation on e-commerce among the member nations. The ministers also acknowledged the role of MSMEs as the engines of export led growth and employment generation. The Ministers endorsed the Framework for BRICS Single Window Cooperation and underlined the importance of closer cooperation among them in the development of their national single windows.

News 17 - PetroFed signs MoU with TERI to undertake a study on Climate Change Risks


PetroFed, an apex society of entities in the Hydrocarbon sector, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TERI to undertake study on “Climate Change Risks: Preparedness for Oil and Gas Sector”.

It will provide a missing link between the policy and the practice in the Hydrocarbon sector. The study will suggest suitable measures for the Oil & Gas sector to achieve India’s INDC target of reducing emission intensity of GDP by 33 – 35 per cent below the levels in 2005 by 2030.

News 18 - Maldives leaves Commonwealth


Maldives announced to leave the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations after the latter warned it of its suspension from the group for lack of progress in promoting the rule of law and democracy.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had cautioned Maldives to take further steps to encourage political dialogue, release its opposition leaders and improve democratic institutions. Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland expressed disappointment over the decision.

News 19 - Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO


Israel has suspended cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) charging that the international body ignored Jewish ties to its holiest site.

UNESCO had passed a resolution that condemned Israel for restricting Muslims access to the site, and for aggression by police and soldiers. It also recognised Israel as the occupying power. The resolution was voted through with 24 votes in favour, six against, and 26 abstentions.

News 20 - The 8th BRICS summit concluded


The 8th BRICS Summit at Goa concluded with BRICS nations unanimously adopting the Goa Declaration. A declaration adopted at the annual summit called upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, violent extremism, radicalisation, recruitment, movement of terrorists including foreign terrorists and blocking sources of financing terrorism.

The summit was attended by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma.

News 21 - Bangladesh, China sign 26 agreements in various fields

Bangladesh and China

Bangladesh and China have signed 26 agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) worth $13.6 billion during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh. China also offered USD 20 billion in loan agreements to Bangaldesh.

Some important MoUs signed were:

  • MoU on One Belt One Road

  • MoU to get a 1320 MW power plant constructed in Bangladesh by China

  • China's TBEA signed a power grid deal worth 1.6 billion US dollars with Dhaka Power

News 22 - Historic Global Greenhouse gas emission Agreement signed in Kigali

Greenhouse Gas

A historic climate deal was reached on October 14 in Kigali, Rwanda at the TwentyEighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28). The agreement has been referred to as Kigali Agreement.

Negotiators from 197 countries agreed to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down super potent greenhouse gas emissions known as hydrofluorocarbons or “HFCs” by 2040s. US and EU to start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and India in 2028.

News 23 - BRICS to set up credit rating agency

Credit Rating Agency

BRICS nations agreed to set up an independent rating agency based on market oriented principles. The new agency will be aimed at challenging western dominance in the world of credit rating agencies. It will be based on market-oriented principles to strengthen the global governance architecture.

The BRICS Rating Agency will be launched as per the shared vision of the BRICS nations for institution-building. BRICS represent nearly half the world's population and a quarter of its economy, at a combined $16.6 trillion.

News 24 - World Bank to provide $1 billlion to Bangladesh to fight child malnutrition

Child Malnutrition

The World Bank has pledged to provide One billion US Dollar aid to Bangladesh over the next three years to fight child malnutrition. The number of stunted children in Bangladesh is among the highest in the world.

The announced investment would support programmes to ensure sufficient child nutrition and include a conditional cash transfer scheme targeted at six lakh poor families in 43 sub-districts. The Bank's new announced assistance is almost a 100 percent increase in investment compared to previous 3-year period.

News 25 - Saudi Prince executed for shooting a man dead

Saudi Prince

Saudi Arabia executed one of its own princes for murder. Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir was found guilty three years ago for killing a man during a dispute on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh.

The prince is the 134th person to be put to death. Most people executed in Saudi Arabia were convicted for murder and drug trafficking although nearly 50 people were put to death for "terrorism".

News 26 - Typhoon Haima caused heavy damage in China

Typhoon Haima

In China, more than 1.69 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haima, which also caused economic losses amounting to 517 million USD. Haima, the 22nd typhoon of the year, made landfall in south China's Guangdong Province.

Provincial civil affairs department said Typhoon Haima triggerd sudden downpours in several cities and more than 2,700 houses and around 178,000 hectares of crops had been damaged.

News 27 - Indo-Italy Scientific and Technological Cooperation re-launched

Indo-Italian Joint Committee

The Indo-Italian Joint Committee established under the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement re-launched the cooperation in the sectors of science, technology and innovation. The original agreement was signed between Italy and India in 2003.

An Indo-Italian Innovation Forum will be established to promote and connect the world of research with the world of business and investment. The Committee expressed appreciation for the launch of the next phase of cooperation established between Italian and Indian researchers in the India-Trento Programme for Advanced Research (ITPAR).

News 28 - Iraq’s Parliament passed law banning alcohol

Iraq’s Parliament

Iraq's parliament has passed a law forbidding the import, production or selling of alcoholic beverages. The law imposes a fine of up to 25 Million Iraqi Dinars (£17,000) for anyone violating the ban.

Proponents of the ban argue that it is justified by the Constitution, which prohibits any law contradicting Islam. The bill was proposed by Mahmoud al-Hassan, a judge and lawmaker from the State of Law coalition.