International Current Affairs
October 2012 International Current Affairs Part-III
Category : International Current Affairs
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 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.

 The Philippine government and the country’s biggest Muslim rebel group announced on that they had agreed on a plan to end a decades-long separatist insurgency that has killed more than 1,50,000 people. The agreement would see the establishment of a new semi-autonomous Muslim area in the resource-rich southern Philippine region of Mindanao, which the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) regards as its ancestral homeland. In this regard, Philippines President Benigno Aquino told this framework agreement would pave the way for a final and enduring peace in Mindanao. The two sides said they were aiming for a final peace deal to be achieved before the President’s term ends in the middle of 2016. Mr. Aquino said a final agreement would have to be approved by a plebiscite. Such approval is not certain in the mainly Catholic country. A planned peace deal during the term of previous President Gloria Arroyo crumbled in 2008 at the final moment amid intense domestic opposition. There are roughly four million Muslims in Mindanao. They see it as their ancestral homeland dating back to Islamic sultanates established before Spanish Christians arrived in the 1500s.Muslim rebel groups have been fighting for independence or autonomy in Mindanao since the early 1970s.The rebellion has claimed more than 150,000 lives, most in the 1970s when all-out war raged, and left large parts of Mindanao in deep poverty. The MILF is the biggest and most important remaining rebel group, after the Moro National Liberation Front signed a peace pact with the government in 1996.Mindanao is home to vast untapped reserves of gold, copper and other minerals, as well as being one of the country’s most important farming regions. 

A court in the Maldives on, ordered the arrest of the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Nasheed, who has challenged the legality of a criminal trial against him. The court issued the arrest warrant after Mr. Nasheed failed for a second time to show up before a special three-judge bench set up to try him for abuse of power when he was in office. Earlier in the day, Mr. Nasheed said he was challenging the legality of the judicial process against him
The Pakistani army has said that the Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai(14) who shot in the head by Taliban gunmen on 9 October, is being sent to the UK for medical treatment. The girl has until now been at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, with doctors saying her progress over the next few days would be "critical". The girl wrote a diary about suffering under the Taliban and was accused by them of "promoting secularism”. The Pakistani army said Ms Yousafzai`s trip was being sponsored by the United Arab Emirates. The teenager - who has been campaigning for education for girls was attacked on 9 October as she was returning home from school in Mingora in north-western Swat. The Taliban has warned they will target Malala Yousafzai again.
Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on 6 October, dissolved parliament, a step toward ending months of political mess and calling the second elections this year that could again swing in favour of opposition groups led by Islamist factions. The move by Kuwait’s Western-allied emir, announced on state-run media, followed a failed attempt last month by the government to overturn a voting district law that appeared to favour the opposition. New elections must now be held within 60 days.
Incumbent Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has won the presidential election with 54.42 percent of the vote. With 90 percent of the votes counted, Chavez, who will serve a third six-year term starting from January 2013, defeated opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, who represents the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition and gained 44.97 percent of votes.

 Arabic on 10 October 2012 made its official debut among one of the Languages at Pope Benedict’s weekly general audiences. This is an exercise and attempt of Vatican to expand its reach to Christians and Muslims in Middle East. Speaking Arabic during the audiences that is broadcasted across the world on radio and television may bring down the fear of Christians in Middle East comforting them to stay back on the land that is a home for many of the holy places for Christians. It is likely that this act of Pope’s address to the world in Arabic language would help in improving the strained relations with the Muslim world. The relations between the Christians and the Muslim world turned sour after Pope’s speech at Regensburg in 2006, which made the Muslim world feel that his message was an attack on Islam. On occasion of the 50th anniversary of the second Vatican Council, Pope for the first time addressed people in Arabic.

Libyan premier Mustafa Abu Shagur was dismissed on 8 October, after the General National Congress rejected his proposed "crisis" cabinet of just 10 ministers, days after his first line-up was also turned down. The embattled Abu Shagur, who had been given 72 hours to come up with a new cabinet, was relieved of his duties and the GNC will have to elect a new prime minister within the next three to four weeks. Before he had even put forward his second cabinet list in just four days, a motion of no confidence in Abu Shagur was signed by 126 assembly members. That was rejected by the GNC president. But when his pared-down list was put to the vote, 125 members of the 186 members present in the 200-seat GNC did not express "confidence" in his choices, against 44 members for and 17 abstentions. Under GNC rules, the assembly will now elect a new premier. 
Election Commission of India and the United Nations Development Programme UNDP on 11 October signed an MOU for cooperation in election management, particularly for supporting elections and democratic process in other countries. The MOU was signed by Shri Akshay Rout, Director General from the Commission and Ms. Lise Grande, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator from UNDP’s side in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri V S Sampath, Election Commissioners, Shri H S Brahma and Dr Nasim Zaidi and UNDP Under Secretary General and UNDP Associate Administrator, Ms. Rebeca Grynspan. Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sampath observed that transparency and strict enforcement have been the strength of ECI, which have lent total credibility to Indian elections. He underlined the Commission’s commitment to work along South-South cooperation and extend support to electoral process wherever there is a need.ECI and UNDP have been working jointly in recent months to harness ECI’s competence in election management to the benefit of several countries. The collaboration is specially built around Commission’s one-year-old India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, IIIDEM, which offers courses for international election practitioners. Election Commission has signed MOUs with fourteen countries for sharing electoral practices and extending electoral assistance.
Wealth of China`s super rich declines:
As the Chinese economy slowed down due to steady fall in exports, the wealth of some of the country`s richest people registered a decline in the past year. According to the Hurun Rich List, China has 251 people worth $1 billion or more, 20 fewer than last year. However, the number of Chinese billionaire has increased many folds compared with 2006, when there were only fifteen. It is the first time in seven years that the number of billionaires in China has fallen. The Chinese economy has slowed in recent months with growth falling to a three-year low of 7.6 per cent, compared with the previous year. Of the 1,000 richest people tracked by Hurun, nearly half saw their wealth shrink in the past year, BBC reported. Topping the list this year is Zong Qinghou, from the beverage company Wahaha, who is worth $12.6 bn.