International Current Affairs
September 3rd week 2015 current affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Pentagon sets up India Rapid Reaction Cell.

  • The Pentagon has established a first-ever country special cell to speed up its defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.
  • Established soon after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter assumed Pentagon’s leadership role in February, India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
  • Given the new thrust on India-US defence relationship under Carter, officials say there are quite a few on the waiting list who have shown keen interest in working at the Pentagon’s India Rapid Reaction Cell.
  • Note: India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind inside the Pentagon
2) Nepal approves new constitution.
  • Nepal`s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, which is due to come into effect. As it was passed by 507 votes to 25, cheers broke out in the assembly.
  • It comes after years of political wrangling, while Nepal was governed by an interim constitution after the monarchy was abolished in 2008. It will see Nepal divided into seven provinces but it angered minority ethnic groups who fear discrimination and sparked protests in which 40 died.
  • Hindu groups have also been demonstrating, demanding that Nepal be declared a Hindu state - it became a secular republic after the monarchy was scrapped. Members of the Constituent Assembly broke out in cheers night after the vote was passed.
  • Prime Minister Sushil Koirala later tweeted that it was "an issue of pride for all Nepalis that the people`s constitution has been passed". Some small opposition parties boycotted the vote.
3) India, Cambodia ink 2 MoUs for bilateral cooperation in Tourism, Mekong Ganga Project.
  • India and Cambodia have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of Tourism and another related to umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative.
  • These MoUs were signed in the presence of Indian Vice President M.Hamid Ansari and his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh.
About Mekong Ganga:
  1. The second MoU for umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative covers five Quick Impact Projects.
  2. It also included 50,000 US dollars grant for the Cambodia-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (CIEDC) which was launched in February 2006.
4) Pakistan to generate 40000 MW nuclear power as part of Nuclear Energy Vision 2050.
  • Pakistan set to itself a target of generating 40000 MW nuclear energy. It will be achieved as part of the Nuclear Energy Vision 2050.
  • An announcement in this regard was made by the Chairman of the PAEA on 17 September 2015 at the 59th IAEA General Conference at Vienna in Austria.
  • While PAEA stands for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, IAEA stands for the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Features of Nuclear Energy Vision 2050:
  1. Its objective is to supply one-fourth of Pakistan’s total energy requirement as predicted for 2050.
  2. As part of the vision, 8800 MW and 40000 MW of nuclear energy will be produced by 2030 and 2050 respectively.
  3. To implement the vision, 32 nuclear power plants (NPPS) will be set up in eight identified sites by constructing 8 plants at a site.
5) India, Sri Lanka exchanged four agreements to ensure peace and stability in the region.
  • India and Sri Lanka exchanged four agreements in various fields including medicare facilities. The agreements were exchanged with an aim to ensure peace and stability in the region.
  • These agreements were exchanged during the visit of Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe to India from 14 September to 16 September 2015.
The Four agreements exchanged between the two sides were:
(a) Exchange of letters on orbit frequency coordination of satellite for SAARC region.
(b) Exchange of MoU regarding supply of medical equipment to 200 bed ward complex at district hospital, Vavuniya.
(c) Exchange of letters on establishment of emergency ambulance services in Sri Lanka.
(d) Exchange of MoU regarding renewed India’s grant assistance for implementation of SDP.

6) Germany introduced border controls along Austrian border to check migrant influx from Syria.

  • Germany introduced border controls along its Austrian border to check migrant influx from Syria.
  • The controls along the borders imply that its temporary exit from the Schengen Agreement that facilitates unhindered movement of people within the EU region.
  • The timing of Germany decision assumes significance as the European Commission (EC) on 9 September 2015 moved a proposal to relocate 120000 migrants among the European Union countries.
Objective: The move is aimed at reducing pressure on frontier states like Greece and Italy that are flooded with lakhs of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and North African nations.
EC formula on internal relocation (Migration):
  1. As per the EC proposal the internal relocation of migrants should take place on the basis of a mandatory distribution key using objective and quantifiable criteria-40 percent of the size of the population, 40 percent of the GDP, 10 percent of the average number of past asylum applications, 10 percent of the unemployment rate.
  2. Further, the formula applies to nationalities of applicants with an EU-wide average recognition rate of 75 percent or higher.
Schengen Agreement:
  1. Its objective is to create borderless area within the European Union.
  2. It facilitates movement of people across international borders without passport and passing through mandatory check posts.
  3. It was signed in June 1985 at Schengen in Luxembourg and became operational on 26 March 1995.
  4. It currently consists of 26 European countries covering a population of over 400 million people and an area of around 4.3 million square kilometers. Several non-EU countries are also included in the area.
Member countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
7) Hungary declared emergency in areas near Serbian border to check Migrant crisis.
  • Hungary declared a state of emergency in two southern counties that shares its border with Serbia to stop migrants entering illegally.
  • This state of emergency empowers the Hungarian police to detain anyone trying to breach a razor-wire fence built on the border with Serbia. It also gives police more powers and allows for the deployment of troops pending parliamentary approval.
Main elements of emergency:
  1. Police buses will now take asylum applicants to registration centres, but if their applications are refused they will now be returned to Serbia rather than being given passage through Hungary.
  2. Anyone who crosses the border illegally will face criminal charges, and 30 judges have been put on standby to try potential offenders.
  3. The laws also make it a criminal offence - punishable by prison or deportation - to damage the newly-built four-metre fence along Hungary`s 175 kilometre border with Serbia.
About Migration Issue:
  1. The declaration of emergency is part of the refugee crisis which the European Union (EU) nations has been facing from Africa especially Syria.
  2. The outflow of refugee from Syria in large numbers is the result of civil war it has been witnessing since last few years that has led to many fleeing conflict zone.
  3. Earlier, to tackle this crisis Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands had already introduced border controls to cope up with a flood of refugees, which warned that they could face up to one million migrant arrivals in 2015. 
8) India, Laos ink two MoUs to strengthen bilateral ties.
  • India and Laos have inked two key Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on Air services and Quick Impact Projects under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) programme to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations.
  • These MoU were signed in presence of Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and his counterpart President of Lao Choummaly Sayasone in Vientiane.
  • Vice President Hamid Ansari is on four-day official state visit to Cambodia and Laos. It is also first visit of an Indian Vice President to Laos.
9) Nepal adopts new Constitution.
  • Nepal has adopted new Constitution marking the country transition to a secular and democratic republic.
  • The new Constitution was unveiled by Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav at a special ceremony held in Parliament at Kathmandu.
  • Earlier the Parliament had unanimously adopted the new Constitution by a 507-25 votes in the 601 seat Constituent Assembly (CA) after seven years of painstaking deliberations.
  • The lawmakers of CA from Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and UCPN - Maoist supported the new constitution. The new constitution defines the Nepal, a majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.
  • The new Constitution has been drafted by second Constituent Assembly (CA) which was elected in 2013. Chairman of CA was Subash Nemwang.


10) Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka released.

  • The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) was released in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The OISL was appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2014.
  • The OISL investigated the last phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011 and concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by both sides-Sri Lankan Security Agencies and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Objective: To deliver justice to the victims, the report recommended the establishment of a hybrid special court by integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.
11) Sherif Ismail sworn in as Prime Minister of Egypt.
  • President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has sworn in a new government
  • The new government, headed by former Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail, came after state-friendly media slammed the performance of his predecessor Ibrahim Mehleb and prosecutors began investigating several officials for allegedly receiving over $1 million in bribes.
  • The accusations stood in contrast to coverage of El-Sissi, the former general and defence minister who led the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. He has cultivated an image as a leader who is above the political fray and is routinely praised by Egyptian media.
12) India, US created Joint Challenge Coin to mark partnership.
  • India and the United States (US) jointly created a Joint Challenge Coin to symbolise their unique partnership in creating a next-generation aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.
  • One side of the coin reads Forward Together We Go and Chale Saath Saath in Hindi, which is the vision statement of US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The other side of this coin which is golden in colour has the flags of India and the United States and an aircraft carrier floating on blue water.
  1. The joint challenge coin was created by the joint working group at their first meeting in US in August 2015 to symbolise partnership.
  2. The establishment of working group for a next-generation aircraft carrier to bolster the Indian Navy`s blue-water capabilities was announced in January 2015 during Obama`s visit to India.
13) Japan Diet removed restrictions on overseas deployment of Self Defense Forces for military use.

  • The Diet, Japan parliament, passed two security bills that allow overseas deployment of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) for military purposes.
  • The remilitarization bills can be termed as historic as they allow Japan to be militarily pro active after 70 years.
  • Article 9: of the Japanese constitution imparted the principle of pacifism to the governance framework.
  • The 1945 constitution was sponsored by the USA and was aimed at curtailing war mongering tendencies of Japan that was defeated in the World War II.
14) President & PM of Burkina Faso ousted in a military coup.
  • Members of the Regiment of Presidential Security (RPS) detained the transitional President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida in the capital Ouagadougou.
  • As a replacement, the RPS declared General Gilbert Diendere as the chief of the newly established National Democratic Council (NDC) that is set to oversee the governance in the country.
  • The military coup led to Burkina Faso’s suspension by the African Union (AU) and sanctions on the leaders of the RPS.
  • Further, it has also casted doubts on conduction of elections that are scheduled for 11 October 2015.
  • Diendere is considered one of the most important military allies of Blaise Comparore who was forced to resign on 31 October 2014 during mass protests.
  • Compaore ruled for 27 years after seizing power in a coup in 1987.
15) Alexis Tsipras-led Syriza party won Greece elections.
  • Alexis Tsipras-led Syriza party emerged as the largest party in the general elections to the Greece’s Parliament.
  • It secured 35 per cent of total votes resulting in 144 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. Syriza is expected to form a coalition government with Independent Greeks Party, a partner in the previous government as well.
  • It is the second election victory for Syriza in just nine months since the formation of its first government at the national government in January 2015.
  1. The snap polls were called after Syriaz lost its majority in August 2015 in the Parliament.
  2. Some of its members left the party as they were opposed to the European Union sponsored 86 billion US dollar bailout package for which Tsiparis agreed to.
  3. The present victory for Syriza is expected to give another opportunity for Greece to effectively deal with its long standing financial crisis and emigrants influx from Syria.