International Current Affairs
September 4th week 2015 current affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Cow declared as National Animal of Nepal.

Cow was declared as the National Animal of Nepal as per the new secular constitution of Nepal unveiled by Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav at a special ceremony held in Parliament at Kathmandu.
Cow is considered as a sacred animal to Hindus and as Nepal is a Hindu country, therefore the Nepal`s government have made cow the national animal. With this, the animal has constitutional protection and cow slaughter has also been banned.
Note: Nepal on 20 September 2015 adopted its first democratically-framed constitution with the promulgation of the charter by the president Ram Baran Yadav. The constitution was conceptualized, developed and adopted by a representative Constituent Assembly.
List of national symbols of Nepal:
National Bird: Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus)
National Emblem: Coat of Arms
National Dress: DauraSuruwal
National Anthem: Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka
National Animal: Cow
National Flower: Rhododendron/ Lali gurans
Note: National Flag of Nepal is the world`s only Non Quadrilateral National Flag
2) UNICEF unveiled Assembly of Youth digital installation at the UN headquarters in New York.
A digital installation named as Assembly of Youth was unveiled at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the USA. It was developed for UNICEF by Google.
It was unveiled by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and two young people from UNICEF Voices of Youth initiative ahead of the UN General Assembly summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Objective: The purpose of the installation is to bring the voices of children and young people from across the world to the heart of the UN General Assembly.
Features of Assembly of Youth:
It harnesses mobile technology and social media to deliver personal messages from children and young people across the globe directly to world leaders.
The messages highlight the challenges they face in their homes and communities - including extreme poverty, inequality, violence, deadly disease and conflict and express their hopes for the future.
The messages will inform and sensitize world leaders and motivate them to take appropriate action to transform the lives of millions of most disadvantaged children and young people.
Data displayed in the installation is drawn from U-Report, a free SMS-based system that allows young people to speak out on the issues they face and what is happening in their communities.
Data is also derived from outreach to children and young people across UNICEF social media channels.
About U-Report
U-Report is a groundbreaking text-message based innovation, set up by UNICEF.
It amplifies the voices and views of young people in developing countries.
U-Reporters can share their opinions on everything from the job skills they want to the best way to tackle epidemics.
About Voices of Youth:
Set up by UNICEF, it is a global community of youth bloggers from all over the world which gives young people the opportunity to learn about development issues and to express their opinions.
3) Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for a weeklong visit to Ireland and the United States.
  • This is the first Prime Ministerial visit to Ireland in 60 years [Jawaharlal Nehru visited Dublin in 1956].
  • On his First leg of this visit, Modi reached Ireland and had a delegation level talks with his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues including information technology, pharmaceuticals and clean energy.
  • Both countries agree for direct air services to boost tourism. The focus of the PM`s Ireland visit is strengthening economic ties and people to people contacts.
  • In the United States, Mr. Modi will address United Nations Summit for the adoption of post 2015 Development Agenda, Leaders summit on peace keeping and G4 summit. 
4) Alexis Tsipras sworn-in as Prime Minister of Greece.
  • Alexis Tsipras of left wing Syriza party has sworn in as the Prime Minister of Greece. He was administered oath to the office by the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
  • It is second time, Alexis Tsipras has sworn in as the PM of Greece. Earlier in January 2015, he had sworn in for first becoming youngest PM of Greece since 1865 at the age of 40.
  1. In the September 2015 general (snap) elections to the Greece’s Parliament, Alexis Tsipras led left-wing Syriza party had emerged as the largest party.
  2. In this election, Syriza party had won 144 seats in the 300 seat Parliament by securing 35 per cent of total votes.
  3. In order to meet governing majority in the Parliament, Syriza party had formed a coalition government with the support of Independent Greeks Party.
5) First trilateral ministerial meeting between India, Japan and US.
India, Japan and US have decided to hold first trilateral ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
PM Modi will attend it on behalf of India.

6)UNGA adopted Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) formally adopted the Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development along with a set of bold new Global Goals, that are a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.
  • The 2030 Agenda and the Global Goals were adopted during the UN Sustainable Development Summit that is being held at the UN headquarters in New York.
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an agenda for people to end poverty in all its forms. It is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.
  • While, the Global Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.
  • The agenda conveys the urgency of climate action. It is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world leaders and others to successfully implement the Global Goals or Agenda 30 by launching a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity.
7)EU imposed anti-dumping duty on Indian water and sewage pipes for six months.
  • The European Union (EU) imposed a provisional anti-dumping duty of up to 31.2 per cent on imports of water and sewage pipes made of ductile cast iron (also known as spheroidal graphite cast iron) from India for six months to protect its industry.
  • The European Commission in its anti-dumping probe has concluded that the material injury to the Union industry was caused by the dumped imports from India. On the basis of this conclusion provisional measures should be imposed to prevent further injury being caused to the Union industry.
  • The Commission also initiated an anti-dumping investigation with regard to imports into the EU of tubes and pipes of ductile cast iron, used for drinking water supply, sewage disposal and irrigation of agricultural land originating from India on 20 December 2014.
  1. The Commission initiated the investigation on Indian water and sewage pipes following a complaint lodged on 10 November 2014 by Saint-Gobain PAM Group, on behalf of producers representing more than 25 percent of the total Union production of tubes and pipes of ductile cast iron.
8)Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull announced 70 million US dollar package to fight domestic violence.
  • The Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull announced a package of 70 million US dollar to tackle rising domestic violence in the country and declared violence against women as a national disgrace.
Key Features of the Package:
  1. 36.5 million Australian dollars will be spent on expanding domestic violence alert training for the police, social workers, emergency personnel and health staff over three years.
  2. 20000 cell phones will be distributed among women to escape ongoing abuse.
  3. Domestic violence units will be created within existing legal aid centres, which would situate lawyers, cultural liaisons and social workers.
  4. In Australia, one in six people have experienced violence from a current or former partner and reportedly, 63 women have lost their lives so far in 2015 due to domestic violence.
Violence against Women in Australia: Statistics:
  1. A research conducted by the 2012 ABS Personal Safety Survey and Australian Institute of Criminology unveiled substantial levels of violence against women in the continent.
  2. 36% of women had experienced physical or sexual violence from someone they knew.
  3. 15% of women had experienced physical or sexual violence from an ex-partner (the most likely type of known perpetrator for a female victim).
  4. For 62% of the women who had experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator, the most recent incident was in their home.
  5. 73% had experienced more than one incident of violence.
  6. 61% had children in their care when the violence occurred including 48% who stated the children had seen and heard the violence.

9)Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches New York on a 5 day visit to the US.
  • He kicked off his engagements in New York with a financial sector roundtable with leading CEOs, including JP Morgan`s Jamie Dimon and Peter Hancock of AIG Insurance.
  • The others in the roundtable include Steve Schwarzman, CEO Blackstone, Charles Kaye of Warburg Pincus, Henry Kravis of KKR, Bill Ford of General Atlantic, Chase Coleman of Tiger Global and Vicki Fuller of NY State Common Retirement Fund.
10)Saudis blamed after hajj stampede kills 717.
  • Blame shifted towards Saudi authorities after a crush at the hajj killed at least 717 people during the worst tragedy to strike the annual Muslim pilgrimage in a quarter-century.
  • The stampede broke out in Mina, about five kilometres (three miles) from Mecca, during the symbolic "stoning of the devil" ritual.
  • King Salman, whose official title is "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in Mecca and Medina, ordered "a revision" of how the hajj is organized.
11)India-US Ministerial Energy Dialogue 2015 held.
  • The India-US Ministerial Energy Dialogue was held at the US Department of Energy, Washington.
  • During the Dialogue, both the sides reviewed the progress made by the six Working Groups of the Energy Dialogue and identified new areas for cooperation.
  • The six Working Groups included Working Groups on (a) Coal; (b) New Technology and Renewable Energy; (c) Petroleum and Natural Gas; (d) Power and Energy Efficiency; (e) Sustainable Development and; (f) Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Research (PACE -R).
Highlights of the India-US Energy Dialogue 2015:
  1. The focus of the meeting revolved on various dimensions of clean energy in order to ensure that people have access to adequate and affordable energy for better quality of life and sustainable livelihood.
  2. The need to develop a robust energy data management system to develop better simulation of the energy scenario in India in the future was also recognised.
Joint Clean Energy R&D Centre (under PACE-R):
It is pushing technological innovation in solar energy, biofuels, and energy efficiency for buildings.
Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) initiative: Launched in 2013, the initiative works to bring electricity access to roughly 300 million people (nearly the population of the United States).
PACESetter fund:
The fund is aimed at providing 8 million US dollars in partnership with the Indian Government to support innovation in energy access delivery.
12)WADA and China signed MoU on Performance Enhancing Drugs
  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
  • The purpose of the MoU is to enhance the cooperation between the WADA and Chinese authorities in eliminating illegal manufacture and supply of PEDs.
Key features of the Agreement:
  1. It will help track and eliminate the illegal manufacture and supply of PEDs and also raw materials for the production of PEDs in China.
  2. WADA and INTERPOL will be instrumental in providing information to Chinese law enforcement about illegal manufacturers and suppliers of PEDs across China.
  3. It will allow anti-doping authorities worldwide to use information they receive from Chinese and other global government agencies to investigate possible anti-doping rule violations under the revised World Anti-Doping Code.
  4. Under the agreement, GASC will develop formal links with organizations from across the Chinese law enforcement industry and counterparts worldwide including the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency.
  5. World Customs Organization (WCO) that has formal partnerships with WADA will also play a role in achieving objective of this agreement.
About WADA:
  1. About World Anti-Doping Agency WADA is global Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aims at harmonizing anti-doping regulations in all sports and countries. It is collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
  2. Established: in 1999 in Lausanne Switzerland under so called Declaration of Lausanne to coordinate, promote and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.
Headquarters : Montreal, Canada.
13)India-Pakistan Flag Meeting decides to defuse situation on LoC
  • India and Pakistan have agreed to exercise restraint and work to defuse the situation on Line of Control (LoC) which has been witnessing repeated ceasefire violations.
  • This decision was taken at Indo-Pak Flag Meeting held at Chakan-da-Bagh LoC crossing point in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir between the senior Army officers of the two countries. In this meeting Indian side was represented by Brigadier H S Sareen while the Pakistani side was led by Brigadier Osman.
  • Both nations also addressed a host of issues regarding ongoing ceasefire violations, sniping action and targeting of civilians on the LoC.
  • This is the first Flag Meeting between both countries held at the level of Brigadiers after nearly 20 days of heavy firing and shelling by Pakistani troops in Poonch district along the LoC.
Ceasefire Violations:
  1. Till September 2015, Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire 25 times by shelling Indian civilian and military positions.
  2. It should be noted that the last Brigade Commander level meeting between both neighbours was held in September 2014 after the LoC saw forty-five days of heavy firing by Pakistani troops since 1971.


14)Nepal imposed vehicle curbs due to fuel shortage.

  • Nepal enforced an odd-even licence plate system for plying of vehicles on alternate days.
  • With this, drivers are permitted on the roads only on alternate days depending on whether their licence plates end in odd or even numbers.
  • The step was taken due to growing fears of a fuel shortage after protesters, belonging to Madhesi community, blocked a major Indo-Nepal border trade route. The route is blocked since the night of 24 September 2015.
  • Hundreds of protestors called for changes in the constitution as they jammed a bridge crossing in the town of Birgunj, 90 km south of Kathmandu that serves as the key centre for oil and food imports into the landlocked nation from India.
Why Madhesis are protesting in Nepal?
  1. The Madhesi community is seeking amendments to the plans adopted under the Constitution to divide the country into seven federal provinces.
  2. As they feel that it has failed to satisfy the Madheshis and Tharus who constitute 70 percent of the Terai population and they regard the formation of seven federal provinces as per the Constitution as grossly unfair to them.
15)Turkey won`t host `inhumane` migrant processing centre: PM Ahmet Davutoglu.
  • Turkey`s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ruled out creating a processing centre for the thousands of mostly Syrian migrants trying to enter Europe from Turkish territory, calling instead for them to be hosted in "safe zones" inside Syria.
  • Responding to repeated calls by EU members for migrants` asylum claims to be handled in the countries from which they set sail for Europe, Davutoglu told Hurriyet newspaper: "We have told Europe that there will be no reception centre in Turkey."
  • EU leaders last week agreed to boost aid for Turkey and other countries neighbouring Syria, which have taken in the bulk of the over four million people fleeing the Syrian civil war and Islamic State extremists.
Narendra Modi signs US tech deals:
  1. Narendra Modi signed tech deals during a two-day tour of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, highlighting India’s tech ambitions and his “Digital Indiaâ€Ã? initiative.
  2. Among the Silicon Valley heavyweights to announce deals were.
      a) Google, which confirmed plans to launch free WiFi in 500 Indian railway stations.
      b) Microsoft, which pledged to help bring low-cost broadband to 500,000 Indian villages.
      c) Qualcomm, the US chipmaker, said it would “invest up to $150m in Indian start-up companies across all stages as part of its commitment to Indiaâ€Ã?.
16)Highlights of Narendra Modi’s visit to Ireland, the US.
  • In the first leg of his seven-day trip, Mr. Modi visited Ireland, marking first Prime Ministerial visit from India in almost 60 years. In Dublin, he held talks with Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland.
  • Then he flew to New York, where he addressed a UN Sustainable Development Summit and participated in a Summit on peacekeeping hosted by US President Barack Obama.
  • He participated in G4 and UNGA (UN General Assembly) on behalf on India.
  • There was a working dinner where major Fortune-500 companies were present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India.
  • He also travelled to West Coast where he visited Facebook Headquarters for a Townhall Q&A with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He also visited Google campus and Tesla Motors.
  • In San Jose, he interacted with the Indian community in SAP Center.
  • On the last day of his visit, Modi met leaders of the three permanent members of the UN Security Council - US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.
Important Activities and MOUs:
  1. The first MoU between Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences is to develop Indo-US Life Science Sister Innovation Hub so as to enhance science-based entrepreneurship, research, academia and businesses by leveraging each other`s ecosystems.
  2. Department of Biotechnology and Prakash Lab, Stanford University signed another MoU on Foldscope -- a frugal science innovation that has emerged from a lab of an Indian with majority of Indians working in this laboratory. This lab will work with DBT to further develop and deploy the products from this lab.
  3. National Association of Software and Service Companies ( NASSCOM) and the Indus Entrepreneurs signed a MoU to collaborate in a mutually satisfactory form and manner in order to support the creation of a vibrant ecosystem to foster technology entrepreneurship in India and Silicon Valley.
  4. IIM Ahmedabad`s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship of the Haas Business School of the University of California, signed a MoU to collaborate on mutual incubation, and support each other`s activities of mutual interest.
  5. CIIE also signed a MoU with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to extend NGIN Membership benefits to CIIE. The CIIE /LACI NGIN Landing Pad Programme is a reciprocal initiative that enables entrepreneurs and innovators in the cleantech space to gain access to the California and Indian markets.
  6. IIM Ahmedabad`s CIIE signed a MoU with Tata Trust for founding partner for the Bharat Fund, which will provide seed funding to Indian entrepreneurs.
  7. CIIE also signed a MoU with Google to support technology and impact entrepreneurs through strategic support.
            For Defense: India inked the $3.1 billion contracts for 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters, taking the total worth of defense deals inked with the US well past $13 billion just since 2007.


17)First-ever US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue held
  • The first-ever US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue was held.
  • It was held on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly session in New York.
  • The trilateral meet was attended by the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
  • During the meet, the foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and India agreed to coordinate policies in addressing China`s increasing maritime activities.
18)India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 begins in Pune
  • India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 has begun at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra. It is third edition of the joint training exercise between both countries that seeks to build Military to Military co-operation and interoperability.
  • Aim of MITRA SHAKTI 2015 Exercise is to share the best military practices between the two Armies and promote healthy military to military relations.
  • It also seeks to develop joint strategies between the two Armies by sharing expertise of conducting operations. The 14 days exercise’s basic objective is to enhance confidence and trust between the two militaries and engage in anti-terrorism operations including those under the UN mandate.