International Current Affairs
October 2012 International Current Affairs Part-II
Category : International Current Affairs
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 Georgia`s Parliament on 25 October approved a billionaire, Bidzina Ivanishvili as the country`s new Prime Minister and endorsed his government. When Saakashvili`s second and final term ends in October 2013, a constitutional reform will transfer many of the President`s powers to the Prime Minister. Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, has stressed the need to restore relations with Moscow that have been severed since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008. He said after his approval that Georgia will rely on international assistance to try to start a dialogue with Russia "with a goal of developing a strategy for overcoming a crisis in bilateral ties”. At the same time he vowed to continue Saakashvili`s course to integrate more closely with the West. "Georgia will aspire to join the European Union, maintain its Euro-Atlantic orientation and integrate with NATO," he told reporters. Ivanishvili emphasised that "the United States remains Georgia`s main ally”. 

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the largest ancient Hindu temple ever found in the Indonesian island of Bali. Construction workers were digging a new drainage basin near a Hindu learning center on Jalan Trengguli, in East Denpasar, when their tools struck a large stone structure one metre underground. The crew then excavated a large stone plate, the first of many discovered at the site. The Denpasar Archeology Agency took over the excavation and uncovered an 11-metre-long structure. The island is home to most of the Hindus in Indonesia.
The UN General Assembly on 18 October 2012 elected five new non-permanent members to the Security Council. South Korea, Luxembourg, Argentina, Australia and Rwanda are the new members. The newly elected member countries are going to serve a two-year term in the UNSC that will begin on 1 January 2013. The five new members are going to replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose term ends on 31 December 2012.Under the UN Charter, the 15-member Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. To be elected to the UN Security Council, a country must win support from two thirds of the General Assembly members, or 129 votes.
Colombian leftist rebels and the Colombian government have formally launched talks to end nearly 50 years of armed conflict, with each side laying out its vision of how the talks will develop and the type of peace that the country can hope for if a deal is reached. Negotiating teams from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and the Colombian government issued a joint statement in the Norwegian town of Hurdal, marking the start of the talks that will continue next month in Cuba. Ivan Marquez is the rebels` chief negotiator. The official launch of the talks was the first time the two sides have met publicly since peace negotiations broke down in 2002, unleashing an intense military campaign by the government of Álvaro Uribe against the Farc, which funds itself through kidnapping, extortion, drugs and illegal gold mining. The Farc negotiators reiterated their insistence that the rebel leader Simon Trinidad, who is serving a 60-year sentence in a US prison after being convicted of kidnapping three Americans, be allowed to participate as a negotiator. Márquez appealed to the US government to make "a great contribution" to Colombia by allowing Trinidad to be involved.

 Pakistan`s Supreme Court on 19 October, ordered the government to take legal action against former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1990 general election. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also said that any "political cell" operating in the presidency, ISI, Military Intelligence or Intelligence Bureau should be shut down immediately as such an institution is unconstitutional. 

In an international testimony to the fact that security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has remarkably improved, Japan on 20 October, has relaxed its travel restrictions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Japan is the second country among the G8 nations to take this step. Germany had relaxed travel restrictions to the state for its nationals in July 2011. Japan’s move to ease restrictions is valid for Srinagar and adjoining areas like Gulmarg. The decision was arrived at after the Japanese embassy officials met the J&K government, and made site visits. With two of the G-8 countries easing the travel restrictions to Kashmir, many other embassies of developed countries are expected to follow suit. Sources said Australians, Canadians, British and some more countries are also making enquiries about the situation in Kashmir. The foreign tourist arrivals in J&K have steadily increased from 52,750 tourists to about 72,000 in 2011.
British Government and Scotland signed on 15 October, a historic deal that will allow Scotland to hold a referendum in 2014 on whether it wants to remain part of the United Kingdom or secede from the 300-year-old political union. For this referendum, voting age will be 16 years. Agreement was signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister and the leader of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) Alex Salmond in Edinburgh. If Scotland does break away, it will end more than 300 years of political union with England.
Libya`s 200-member General National Congress on 14 October 2012 elected Ali Zidan as the new Prime Minister. Ali Zidan, an independent, won 93 votes.He beat a candidate favoured by the Justice and Construction party which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Announcing his victory, President of the National Assembly asked Mr Zidan to propose a cabinet within two weeks. Ali Zidan is a human rights lawyer. The previous Prime Minister, Mustafa Abu Shagur, was dismissed a week ago after failing to form a government.
Bangladesh has been named the fifth in the list of 173 countries that are most prone to natural disasters, according to a report. The "World Risk Report 2012" examines which countries are more at risk from natural disasters than others, what contributes to this risk and what can be done about it, the Daily Star said. Island nations Vanuatu, over 3,600 km from Australia in the Pacific Ocean, and Tonga, at a distance of 5,200 km from Australia, have the highest disaster risk. Malta and Qatar face the lowest risk worldwide, said the report. It said environmental degradation is a significant factor that reduces the capacity of societies to deal with disaster risk in many countries around the world. The report was published in Brussels by the German Alliance for Development Works, UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security, and The Nature Conservancy. "This report illustrates the powerful role that nature can play in reducing risks to people and property from coastal hazards like storms, erosion and floods," Michael Beck, lead marine scientist at The Nature Conservancy, was quoted as saying. The top 15 most "at-risk" countries are all tropical and coastal. There, coastal habitats like reefs and mangroves are incredibly important for people`s lives and livelihoods.
The Philippines government 15 October struck a historic peace deal with the biggest Muslim rebel group, raising hopes of an end to four decades of insurgency in the south through a Malaysian-brokered roadmap towards greater autonomy. The peace accord signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a major step towards achieving a settlement plan that proposes the establishment of a new autonomous Muslim-administered region.

 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma waved an African Union flag, tapped a wooden gavel and became the first woman to take office as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) at the A.U. headquarters in Addis Ababa on 15 October. Upon taking office, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma shall be confronted by simmering conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea Bissau; chronic instability in Somalia; and an insurgency in northern Mali where fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda have taken control of large swathes of land. She supported military intervention in Mali if it did not worsen an already fraught situation. She also pledged support for continued negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan as they seek to demarcate international boundaries under the aegis of the A.U. High Level Implementation Panel.

India has been ranked at a poor 115 by a global survey which looked into the level of economical empowerment of women in 128 countries. The list was topped by Australia and followed by three Scandinavian countries — Norway, Sweden and Finland. At the bottom of the list were Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and Chad. 
The research done by an international consulting and management firm Booz & Company ranked India at 115 and noted that with the second-largest population in the world, India generates 14 per cent of the global talent pool, among which are the 5.5 million women entering India`s workforce each year, all overwhelmingly driven to succeed. It added that although the knowledge economy has created enormous opportunities in India, too many women are still prevented from reaching their full potential by a combination of cultural restrictions, gender discrimination, and lack of resources. It underlined that if India is to sustain its rate of growth, it will have to break down these sizable barriers to women`s empowerment. 
The report is based on the country`s performance in terms of primary, secondary and tertiary education, equal pay for equal work, non-discrimination policies, access to childcare, property ownership rights and ability to access credit. It also looks at whether wages are equal, the number of women in work compared with men, and whether there is equality in the number of female managers, senior business leaders and politicians. 
Israel`s parliament voted overnight to dissolve itself and hold early elections on January 22, officials said on Tuesday. The dissolution of the Knesset was approved by 100 votes to none in a third reading after a lengthy session in the 120-seat chamber. 
Osman Ali Khan the last Nizam of Hyderabad was named in list of the 25 richest people across the world who ever lived by US website Celebrity Networth. Osman Ali Khan, the Nizam, who ruled Hyderabad between 1886-1967, was ranked sixth in world and the richest in India with $236 billion. He died in 1967 at age of 80. The list declared by US website Celebrity Networth was compiled after adjusting the fortunes of people across history for inflation. For example, $100 million in 1913 is equivalent to $2299.63 billion in 2012. As per the report, The 25 richest who ever lived had a combined fortune of $4.317 trillion, of which 14 are American.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has categorically opposed wearing `hijabs` (head scarves) in country`s schools and welcomed the idea of returning to school uniforms. "We need to see how our neighbours in European countries are tackling this problem of wearing hijabs. Then, everything will become clear," Mr Putin said on 18 October at a meeting with representatives of the Russian People`s Front.