International Current Affairs
May 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) ,000-yr-old water supply system unearthed

  • An ancient aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago to transport water into the city of Jerusalem has been unearthed. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, a section of Jerusalem`s Lower Aqueduct, which conveyed water to the city more than 2,000 years ago, was exposed in the Umm Tuba quarter (near Har Homa) during the construction of a sewer line.
  • The authority conducted an archaeological excavation there following the discovery of the aqueduct. The aqueduct begins at the `En `Eitam spring, near Solomon`s Pools, south of Bethlehem, and is approximately 21 kilometers long. Despite its length, it flows along a very gentle downward slope whereby the water level falls just one meter per kilometer of distance. 
  • At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water.
  • The aqueduct`s route was built in open areas in the past, but with the expansion of Jerusalem in the modern era, it now runs through a number of neighborhoods: Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor. Since this is one of Jerusalem`s principal sources of water, the city`s rulers took care to preserve it for some two thousand years, until it was replaced about a century ago by a modern electrically operated system. 
  • Due to its historical and archaeological importance, the Israel Antiquities Authority is taking steps to prevent any damage to the aqueduct, and is working to expose sections of its remains, study them and make them accessible to the general public.
2) Number of hungry people worldwide drops below 800 mln - U.N
  • According to a new report released on 27th May, the number of people in the world still going to bed hungry 15 years after the U.N. placed eradicating hunger and extreme poverty at the top of its Millennium Development Goals has dropped to 795 million. The report by three U.N. agencies claims that number is a reduction of 167 million people over the last 10 years.
  • Only 72 of the world`s 129 developing countries, 56 percent, met the MDG of reducing the proportion of hungry people by half in the last 15 years, said the report, "State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015".
  • South Asia faces the highest burden of hunger, where as many as 281 million people lack sufficient food Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger, with more than 23 percent of the population not getting enough to eat
  • Poor governance, violent conflicts and protracted crises are holding back many African nations. In 1990, 12 countries across the continent were facing food crises. Twenty years later the number has risen to 24, including 19 that have been in crisis for more than eight of the previous 10 years. The regions that made the most progress include……
  • South America, where less than 5 percent of the population faces hunger now, a reduction of more than 50 percent since 1990.
  • Central Asia, South East Asia and parts of North Africa also showed significant progress, said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other Rome-based U.N. agencies.
  • Support for the poor through social investments, such as cash transfer programmes, employment projects, food distribution schemes, health care and education helped successful countries reduce the number of hungry residents, U.N. agencies said.
  • Strong harvests in much of the world, coupled with reduced oil prices, mean that global food costs are nearing a five-year low.
  • These trends, along with economic growth and other factors, helped reduce the number of hungry people worldwide by 10 million in the past year, according to the FAO.
  • In the developed countries, some 15 million people also suffer from hunger, the report said.

3) India tops world hunger list with 194 million people

  • India is home to 194.6 million undernourished people, the highest in the world, according to the annual report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released on 28th May. This translates into over 15 per cent of India’s population, exceeding China in both absolute numbers and proportion of malnourished people in the country`s population.
  • The organization has released the report The State of Food Insecurity in the World. 
  • The report suggests that….
  • This is a result of growth not being inclusive. Rural people make up a high percentage of the hungry and malnourished in developing countries, and efforts to promote growth in agriculture and the rural sector can be an important component of a strategy for promoting inclusive growth.
  • There has however been a significant reduction in the proportion of undernourished people in India — by 36 per cent — from 1990-92.
  • In India, the extended food distribution programme has contributed to a positive outcome
4) S Korea, US, Japan envoys discuss N Korea nuclear programme
  • Nuclear envoys from South Korea,Japan and the United States met in Seoul on 27th May, seeking a way forward to revive long-stalled, six-party talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons programme. The effort comes as North Korea ramps up its nuclear rhetoric, boasting last week of its ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on high-precision, long-range rockets. According to Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea`s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, dialogue was particularly timely given what was described as an uncertain and tense situation in North Korea. After the dialogue in Seoul, the South Korean and US envoys were set to fly to Beijing to meet with their Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.

5) Migrant crisis: EU asks member states to accept 40,000 asylum seekers

  • The European Commission has called on EU member states to take in 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea who land in Italy and Greece over the next two years. Germany, France and Spain would receive the most migrants under the Commission`s latest plan. The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states. The UK government says that it will not take part in such a system.
6) France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have also all voiced
  • concerns, and a final decision will be taken by EU governments after a vote by MEPs. Denmark has the right to opt out of the plan while Ireland and the UK can decide whether they wish to opt in.
  • This is in addition to moves announced earlier this month by the EU for a voluntary scheme to settle 20,000 refugees fleeing conflict who are currently living outside the EU.
  • Pakistan ‘haven’ for several Islamist terror groups: US Report
  • Syrian activists say the Islamic State group has released two Christian women who had been held along with dozens others since February in northeastern Syria. IS had kidnapped more than 220 Assyrian Christians in February, after overrunning several farming communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in Hassakeh province. 
  • Osama Edwards, director of the Assyrian Network for Human Rights, says the women, who are 70 and 75 years old, were released on Tuesday and have now reached the northwestern city of Hassakeh.
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday the two were likely released because of their poor health. Some of the captives were released previously. Edwards says the Islamic State is still holding 210 Assyrian Christians and is demanding $100,000 for each hostage.