Current Affairs Sep 2016 - International


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News 1 - Michel Temer sworn in as new President of Brazil

Michel Temer

Michel Temer, Brazil's former vice president, was sworn in as the new president of Brazil after Dilma Rousseff was removed of the presidency by the Senate in an impeachment trial. He is expected to remain President till 2018.

Brazil’s Senate removed President Dilma Rousseff from office after a total of 61 senators voted in favour of her dismissal and 20 against, meeting the two-thirds majority needed to remove Rousseff from the presidency for illegally using money from state banks to boost public spending, an act seen as a leading factor behind the massive 60 billion US dollars deficit.

News 2 - Nepal re-appointed Deep Kumar Upadhyay as its envoy to India

Deep_Kumar

Nepal has re-appointed Deep Kumar Upadhyay as its envoy to India. Mr Upadhyay was recalled by the previous Oli government in May 2016 over charges of 'non-cooperation' and indulging in 'anti-government' activities. He was serving as Nepal's ambassador to India since April 2015.

The cabinet meeting chaired by new Prime Minister Prachanda at his office nominated Mr Upadhyay as ambassadorial candidate for India and Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel for China.

News 3 - US and China ratified Paris global climate agreement

US and China

The United States and China have both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement. Both the countries are together responsible for 40% of the world's carbon emissions.

While 180 countries have now signed the agreement, 55 nations - covering at least 55 percent of global emissions - need to formally ratify the treaty to put it into legal effect. 23 nations had already ratified but they collectively accounted for just 1.08 percent of global emissions.

News 4 - G-20 Summit 2016 concluded in Chinese city of Hangzhou

Hangzhou Summit

The eleventh meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) was held on 4-5 September 2016 in the city of Hangzhou (province of Zhejiang). The 2016 G20 Hangzhou summit is also the first ever G20 summit to be hosted in China and second Asian country after 2010 G20 Seoul summit was hosted in South Korea.

The guest invitees in the summit were: Egypt, Kazakhstan, Laos, Senegal, Spain, Singapore and Thailand.

The theme of the summit is toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy. The final communiqué of the summit are:

  • Fight against tax evasion
  • Favour international trade and investments and opposition to protectionism
  • Fiscal stimulus and innovation to boost economic growth
  • Combating populist attacks against globalization
  • Strengthen support for refugee

News 5 - World Health Organization declares Sri Lanka malaria-free

Malaria

WHO has declared Sri Lanka to be malaria-free, a life-threatening disease which long affected the island country. No locally transmitted cases of malaria had been recorded in the country for three-and-a-half years.

The country had begun an anti-malaria campaign that successfully targeted the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the disease, not just mosquitoes. Health education and effective surveillance also helped the campaign. Sri Lanka is the second country in the WHO South-East Asia Region to eliminate malaria after Maldives.

News 6 - Microsoft, Google adopt EU-US Privacy Shield framework

Microsoft, Google

American tech giants Microsoft, Google and Salesforce officially adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield framework. This will enable them to receive personal data from the European Union (EU) in compliance with the new standards.

They are now among the 103 companies out of the 5526 signatories to replace the defunct Safe Harbour framework. Facebook, Apple and Twitter are yet to adopt Privacy Shield Framework. The European Commission adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield framework in July 2016 to facilitate the transfer of personal data from the EU to the United States (US).

News 7 - UK and IRAN appoint ambassadors for the first time in 5 years

UK and IRAN

The UK has appointed an ambassador to Iran for the first time since 2011 restoring diplomatic relations. The decision comes nearly five years after Iranians invaded the British Embassy. Nicholas Hopton, a former British ambassador to Qatar and Yemen, will take up the role of ambassador.

Similarly, Hamid Baeidinejad, has been appointed the Iranian ambassador to the UK.He has been a key figure in the Iranian nuclear negotiating team.

News 8 - 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit successfully concluded at Vientiane, Laos

Laos

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit 2016 was held at Vientiane, Laos with theme ‘Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community’, under the leadership of H.E. ThonglounSisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao.

The Summit was witnessed by 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia. Leaders focussed on ASEAN Community Vision 2025, master plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response.

News 9 - Mexico sets up consulate in South Indian state Chennai

Mexico

Mexico has set up its first consulate in south India in Chennai. This is the Latin American country’s third consulate in India, with the other two being in Mumbai and Kolkata. It is an important initiative to explore Free Trade Agreement with India.

Mexico had backed Brazil as the top destination of India’s exports to Latin America. India’s exports to Mexico were $2.8 billion in 2015-16. The Consulate in Chennai would serve as a liaison with the business community in south India and increase Mexican tourists, as only 15000 Mexicans visited India last year and around 50,000 Indian visited Mexico.

News 10 - World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) South-East Asian Regional Committee to set up health emergency fund

WHO

India along with 10 other member countries of World Health Organization’s South-East Asian Regional Committee has decided at the 69th session of WHO Regional Committee Meeting held at Colombo, to set up a dedicated fund aimed at building preparedness for health emergencies in the region.

The joint funding stream will be established under the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) which will allow these countries to invest in infrastructure and human resources to be prepared at the time of emergency. Besides, these countries also passed a resolution for promoting physical activity and expanding health services.

News 11 - World's first driverless bus service launched in Lyon, France

Driverless Bus

The world's first driverless bus service began carrying passengers in Lyon, France. The two electric vehicles, fitted with high-tech equipment including laser sensors, stereo vision and GPS, can ferry around 15 passengers at a top speed of 20 kilometers an hour (12 mph).

The bus has been manufactured by the French firm Navya. Each bus costs 200,000 euros ($225,000). A prototype was tested in 2013. The buses include features like LiDAR radar technology and motion sensors to help it avoid collisions. LIDAR is acronym of Light Detection and Ranging.

News 12 - India along with 10 South-east Asian countries to set up fund for health emergencies preparedness

SEARHEF

India along with 10 other member countries of WHO's South-East Asian Regional Committee agreed to establish a dedicated funding stream aimed at building preparedness for health emergencies in the Region. The decision was taken in the 69th session of WHO Regional Committee Meeting at Colombo.

The joint funding stream will be established under the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF). The region comprises 11 countries − Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

News 13 - Indo-US Economic Summit from September 13

Indo-US

The Indo-US Economic Summit began in New Delhi from September 13. The two-day summit will deliberate on ways to enhance bilateral trade and investments between India and the US to USD 500 billion and will focus on sectors that foster growth.

The North India council of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce is hosting the function. It will be will be inaugurated by US Ambassador to India Richard Verma. The summit will bring together more than 250 people, leaders from business, government, civil society and academia.

News 14 - Bakytzhan Sagintayev appointed as the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Bakytzhan Sagintayev

Bakytzhan Sagintayev has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan after his candidacy was approved by Deputies of Majilis of Parliament. The relevant decree on appointment was also signed by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

52 years old Sagintayev replaced Karim Masimov who was named the Head of the KNB security service. The president also named Askar Mamin, previously the chief executive of the state railways company, first deputy prime minister.

News 15 - World’s longest bullet train network established in China

Bullet Train

China’s high-speed railway became world’s longest bullet train network after it completed over 20,000 km of track in the country. The line has 9 stations and trains run at a speed of up to 300 kph. Construction of the line started in December 2012 and testing started in April 2016.

While Japan bagged the contract to build Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed train, China is conducting feasibility study to build a bullet train track between Chennai and New Delhi.

News 16 - Somalia hosts heads of state summit for 1st time in 30 years

Somalia

Somalia hosted regional African heads of state for a summit that was the first of its kind in the Somali capital since it plunged into conflict in 1991.

In the one-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, a grouping that includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Sudan, Uganda and Somalia, the regional leaders discussed Somalia's upcoming vote for a new Parliament and President, as well as the situation in South Sudan, where fighting in July has further destabilized the five-year-old nation.

News 17 - Brazil Congress expels ex-speaker Eduardo Cunha

Eduardo Cunha

The powerful former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, Eduardo Cunha, has lost his seat after an overwhelming vote by fellow members of Congress to remove him.

Mr Cunha had denied having millions of dollars hidden in Swiss bank accounts - said to be the proceeds of corruption. But information from Swiss authorities proved the existence of the accounts. Mr Cunha could now face arrest.

News 18 - Visakhapatnam gears up for 3rd BRICS Urbanization Forum Meet

BRICS Urbanization

The 3-day 3rd BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Urbanization Forum Meet will be conducted in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. It will begin on 14th September and the theme of the meet is “Building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions for urbanization”.

The delegates will discuss investments, urbanization, formation of new cities and policies and will explore solutions for the challenges in the summit. The conference would discuss how to increase the productivity, how to make a separate urban finance system and creation of employment opportunities.

News 19 - BRICS Environment Ministers to meet at Goa

BRICS Environment Ministers

The Environment Ministers of BRICS countries are meeting on September 16 2016 in Goa, to strengthen mutual cooperation. The meeting is expected to discuss Memorandum of Understanding and the Joint Working Group on environment.

The BRICS Ministers are also expected to discuss thematic areas of mutual interest and prioritize actions for cooperation in critical areas like air and water pollution, liquid and solid waste management, climate change and conservation of biodiversity. This meeting shall be preceded by discussions at official level.

News 20 - US agrees to supply largest military aid to Israel for next 10 years

US and Israel

United States has agreed to supply Israel with military aid for the next 10 years in a record 38 billion dollars deal - the largest in US history. The pact will elevate US aid to Israel from 3.1 billion dollars a year currently to 3.8 billion dollars.

The agreement constitutes the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in US history. Israel will receive, among other things, 500 million dollars a year for missile defence programmes.

News 21 - UK approves EDF's 18-billion Euros nuclear power station

EDF

The U.K. government has approved Electricite de France's controversial plan to build two nuclear reactors for 18 billion pounds ($24 billion) at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The project will proceed under the condition that EDF won't be able to sell down its controlling stake in the project prior to completion of construction without U.K. government approval. China General Nuclear Power Corp. is providing about a third of the funding for the plant.

News 22 - India, Nepal sign three agreements including improvement of road network

Road Network

India and Nepal signed three MoUs and agreements to enhance the bilateral agreement between the two nations during the four-dayvisit (from 15 September to 18 September 2016) of Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” to India.

The inked MOUs and agreements are:

  • $750 Million Line of Credit for postearthquake reconstruction between Nepal and EXIM Bank

  • MoU for project management consultancy services for upgradation/improvement of road infrastructure in Terai area of Nepal to be provided by NHIDCL

  • First amendatory dollar credit line for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal

News 23 - China and Russia conclude joint naval exercise

China and Russia

Chinese and Russian navies concluded their 8-day long joint military exercise, Joint Sea2016, in waters off the southern province of Guangdong, with a drill to "seize" an island, in a symbolic move by Beijing whose claims over the South China Sea was struck down by an international tribunal.

The drill has a strategic value for China as it comes nearly two months after the international tribunal order. It was also the first time the China-Russia joint exercise had been held in the South China Sea.

News 24 - 17th NAM summit held at Venezuela

NAM Summit

Hon’ble Vice President Shri M. Hamid Ansari lead the Indian delegation at the 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) held at Margarita Island in Venezuela on 17-18 September, 2016.

A declaration of the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit issued called for the reform of the Security Council, in order to transform it into a more democratic, effective, efficient, transparent and representative body, and in line with contemporary geo-political realities. The last NAM Summit was hosted by Iran in 2012. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members.

News 25 - World's largest ship lift began trial run in China

Ship Lift

The Three Gorges ship lift project on China's Yangtze River started its trial run. It is expected to be the world's largest and most sophisticated ship lift.

The ship lift can elevate ships weighing up to 3,000 tons. It will shorten the time required for ships to pass through the dam from more than three hours at present to approximately 40 minutes. Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity.

News 26 - New York Declaration adopted at 1stUNGA Summit for protection of Refugees and Migrants

UNGA

World leaders planned at the United Nations to adopt the New York Declaration at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA) first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants, to protect the rights of refugees and migrants and to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.

Various declarations were adopted at the Summit like ensuring education for all refugee and migrant children, find new homes for all refugees identified by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, strengthen the global governance of migration etc.

News 27 - President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party wins parliamentary election

Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won the Russian parliamentary election and assigns Putin to continue as President for a fourth term. United Russia party obtained 44.5 per cent, according to exit polls followed by Communist Party and Liberal Democratic Party. The total number of Russian voters amounts to 111.6 million with about two million of them living abroad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev who is also party’s chairman arrived at the United Russia party campaign office thanked Putin, who is the party founder, for demonstrating support for United Russia by visiting the campaign office.

News 28 - First Indian music-dance festival starts in Australia

Indian Music-Dance

A first-of-its-kind Indian music and dance festival "Confluence: Festival of India" started in the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia. The festival is aimed to showcase the country’s rich and diverse culture.

The festival is an initiative of Indian government supported by its Australian counterpart. The six others cities the festival will be organized are: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth. The festival will go on till November.

News 29 - 193 countries sign declaration to stamp out drug-resistant infections

Drugs

The 193 countries of the United Nations have signed a landmark declaration to rid the world of drug-resistant infections or superbugs. Six years in the making, the international commitment could prevent 700,000 deaths a year.

It is the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue, following HIV in 2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013. The signatories now have two years to report back with an action plan. Experts say treatment-resistant infections pose one of the biggest known threats to humanity today.

News 30 - US lawmakers introduce bill to designate Pakistan a terrorist state

Ted Poe

In US, two influential lawmakers have introduced a bill in House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

The bill known as the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act has been moved by Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Dana Rohrabacher, who is a ranking member of the influential Congressional Committee on Terrorism.

Ted Poe, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, said Pakistan is not only an untrustworthy ally but has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years.

News 31 - Chinese city Yangzhou to host India business, culture fest

China and India

China's Yangzhou city is set to host India Week celebrations from 23rd September with a business and investment meeting to be attended by CEOs of top Indian firms. Companies in Yangzhou have shown keen interest in investing in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.

As part of Yangzhou's International Cuisine Festival, an 'Incredible India Pavilion' will also be inaugurated, showcasing select Indian food delicacies and for promoting tourism-related travel options for Yangzhou visitors to India.

News 32 - Afghanistan signs peace deal with Hezb-i-Islami

Peace Deal

Afghanistan has signed a peace agreement with Hezb-i-Islami, paving the way for the armed group's commander, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to make a political comeback despite allegations of war crimes during the 1990s. The deal with the largely dormant Hezb-i-Islami marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani.

The agreement grants Hekmatyar amnesty for his offences and the release of certain Hezb-iIslami prisoners. The agreement will come into force when it is formally signed by Ghani and Hekmatyar, though no date has been set.

News 33 - US President Barack Obama rejected a bill that allows families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama rejected a legislation that could allow Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over whether it supported some of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out 9/11 were Saudi nationals.

The White House has warned that the legislation would have jeopardized legal and economic retaliation from foreign governments and would have made adverse impact with US interests and nationals overseas. Congress may try to overturn the veto, which requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. Previous attempts to overturn Obama’s vetoes have all been unsuccessful.

News 34 - Historic UN Security Council Meet passes resolution on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament

UN Security Council Meet

Considering that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery that threatens international peace and security, UN Security Council passed a resolution in support of quick global implementation of Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban treaty to ban tests of nuclear weapons.

Decision came with 14 votes in favour and one (Egypt) against the decision, where 183 States have signed the Treaty and 166 States have deposited their instruments of ratification. The Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions for both civilian and military purposes. The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all.

News 35 - India to host 1st BRICS Young Scientists Conclave

BRICS

The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, under the BRICS framework, to host a five-day event where a group of about 50 young scientists/ researchers from BRICS countries are meeting in Bengaluru. It would be organized and coordinated by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru.

This BRICS Young Scientists Conclave assumes importance as it is taking place during India’s chairmanship of BRICS in 2016 under a focal theme of ‘Building, Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions’. The Conclave aims at building a BRICS Innovation and paves way for creation of strong generation of S&T leadership that can accelerate change collectively.

News 36 - Pakistan Assembly passes Hindu Marriage Bill favouring women’s rights

Women’s Rights

Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament has passed a landmark bill that will address the Hindu minority’s concerns over the registration of marriages, matters related to divorce and forced conversions.

Hindus make up approximately 1.6% of Pakistan's Muslim-majority population, but have not had any legal mechanisms to register their marriages since independence from Britain in 1947. Any violation to the law regarding the marriage of minimum age of 18 years for Hindu men and 16 years for women, would result in six months' jail and a 5,000-rupee ($47) fine.

News 37 - BRICS Labour & Employment Ministerial Meeting gets underway

Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting

The 2-day BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting was held in New Delhi where two historic reforms have been introduced by India. India has put a complete ban on employment below 14 years of age and on employment in hazardous occupations below 18 years of age.

The said reforms will boost employment track through the BRICS Employment Working Group will pave way for finding solutions to address employment and labour challenges that BRICS and a lot of other emerging economies face.

News 38 - Jeffrey DeLaurentis nominated as the first Cuban Ambassador by United States

Jeffrey DeLaurentis

President Barack Obama has appointed Jeffrey DeLaurentis as the first U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in more than half a century. DeLaurentis had been working at the new US embassy in Havana, which opened since 2014. He served in Havana during the transition period between the two nations.

Prior to this, he has been the U.S. Chief of Mission in Havana since 2014. Several Republican senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, have vowed to block a nomination for U.S. ambassador to Cuba.

News 39 - Typhoon Megi Hits Eastern China, Taiwan

Typhoon

The powerful typhoon Megi has recently hit the island-nation Taiwan and Eastern China. Taiwan has been hit by a third typhoon in two weeks. The typhoon has winds up to 230 km/hr. It is equivalent to a Category 4 tropical cyclone.

Megi is 500 kilometers (310 miles) in diameter and rainfall had topped 300 millimeters (12 inches) in the south and eastern mountains of Taiwan. Megi is the fourth typhoon of the year to hit Taiwan.

News 40 - WHO declares Measles complete elimination from the Region of the Americas

WHO

The Region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated endemic measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, brain swelling and even death. The announcement came during the 55th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization by the International Expert Committee for Documenting and Verifying Measles.

Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.

News 41 - Russia and Cuba inked agreement on Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation

Russia and Cuba

On the occasion of the 60th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held at Vienna, Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom and Cuba's Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment inked an agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful atomic energy use.

On the sidelines of the meeting, it has been decided to conduct special coordinating committees and bilateral working groups to implement agreement such as radioisotope production and their use in industry, medicine, agriculture, security and environmental research.

News 42 - India and three other members boycott the 19th SAARC Summit to be held in Islamabad

SAARC Summit

The SAARC summit of 2016 will be cancelled as four of its members India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan took decision to stay away from the November summit to be held in Islamabad. India expressed inability to participate in the summit due to cross-border terrorist attacks and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan after the September 18 attack on the military base in Uri.

Later, India was joined by Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan considering the problem of terrorism in the region. Nepal is the current chair of SAARC and Summit is postponed.

News 43 - The 3rd India and Canada Annual Ministerial Dialogue

India and Canada

A high level delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. NirmalaSitharaman attended 3rd Annual Ministerial Dialogue at Toronto, Canada. Trade Ministers of both the countries discussed ways of expeditious early conclusion of FIFA and CEPA, exploring options for Indian interest in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programmes (TWEP) of Canada, bilateral FDI flows, issues relating to intellectual property and other issues relating to trade and investment.

The next meet is scheduled to meet some top business leaders of Canada on the 30th September to discuss the various reforms.

News 44 - Trilateral Meet between India, Afghanistan and Iran to Take Chabahar Agreement Further

Trilateral Meet

A Trilateral meeting was held between Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammadullah Batash and Minister of Road and Urban Development, Iran, Dr. Abbas Ahmed Akhoundi in New Delhi. The three Ministers held discussions on Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor.

It was decided to evolve protocols related to transport and transit, ports, customs procedures and consular affairs. It was also decided to convene an Expert level meeting of senior officials of the three countries within one month in Chabahar.



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