International Current Affairs
April 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Obama, Abe pledge to complete Pacific Rim Trade Pact

  • US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have pledged to complete a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement even as the American leader acknowledged there was opposition to the deal which he said would be the most progressive trade bill in the history. 
  • The two leaders agreed that their nations would work to bring a quick, successful conclusion to talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, despite the failure of US and Japanese negotiators to work out the final terms of a bilateral deal essential to any broader accord.
2) Boat drowned carrying migrants off Libyan coast
  • Hundreds of people are feared drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The mishap occurred when the 70 feet long boat capsized some 17 miles off Libyan waters, 130 miles south of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. 
  • The migrants reportedly fell overboard when they rushed on one side to draw the attention of a passing merchant vessel, causing their ship to capsize.A major rescue operation involving Italian ships, Maltese Navy and commercial vessels has been launched. When reports last came in, 28 people had been rescued and 24 bodies retrieved.
3) China, Pak ink 51 agreements
  • Current Affirs Pakistan and China on 20th April struck as many as 51 agreements including the multi billion dollar economic corridor through the PoK that will expand the communist giant`s influence in India`s neighbourhood. Chinese President Xi Jinping formally unveiled the ambitious 3,000 km-long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his historic maiden state visit to Islamabad.The strategic corridor will link China`s under developed far-western region to Pakistan`s Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea via PoK through a massive and complex network of roads, railways, business zones, energy schemes and pipelines.
  • The corridor, expected to be ready in three years gives China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond. The agreements were signed after Xi held talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Both the leaders witnessed the agreements signing ceremony. The two leaders unveiled plaques of eight projects to be undertaken in Pakistan with Chinese assistance. The projects and agreements relate to energy, infrastructure, agriculture, research and technology, education and other fields. 
4) Former Egyptian President Morsi jailed for 20 years
  • A court in Egypt has sentenced former President Mohammad Mursi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters while he was still in power. It is the first ruling he has faced since his ousting and is one of several upcoming trials he faces. Mursi was deposed by the army in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule.

5) Asian, African countries call for new world order

  • Leaders from Asian and African countries called for a new world order to fight poverty and economic disparity. Representatives from more than 80 nations attended the Asian-African Summit that started on 22nd April in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. 
  • India spoken about terror: In the summit, Indian External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj participated. India stressed the emergence of the terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS was a matter of grave concern and must be countered as it challenges civilization. India has said that, the rise of extremist violence and terrorism has been one of the most disturbing security phenomena and several parts of the two continents are victim to a medley of terrorist groups.
6) Japan`s maglev train creates new world speed record with top speed of 603 km per hr
  • Japan`s state-of-the-art maglev train clocked a new world speed record on 21st April in a test run near Mount Fuji, smashing through the 600 kilometre per hour mark, as Tokyo races to sell the technology abroad. The seven-car maglev train short for "magnetic levitation" hit a top speed of 603 kilometres an hour, and managed nearly 11 seconds at over 600kph, operator Central Japan Railway said. The new record came less than a week after the company recorded a top speed of 590 kph, breaking its own 2003 record of 581 kph.
  • At least 115 children killed in Yemen since March 26: UNICEF
  • According to United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, at least 115 children have been killed and 172 injured in the violence raging in Yemen since Saudi-led air strikes began on 26 last month. The report was released on 24th April. The UN children`s agency further said there are hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen who continue to live in the most dangerous circumstances. It also said, since war began, at least 140 children had been recruited by armed groups.
  • Another UN agency, World Health Organisation said the over all death toll in Yemen had topped 1,000, and the UN`s human rights agency said Friday at least 551 of the people who died were civilians.
7) Switzerland tops World Happiness Index
  • Switzerland topped the third annual World Happiness index produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an initiative under the United Nations. It was closely followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Togo, Burundi, Benin and Rwanda, with civil-war wracked Syria, were least happy. The World Happiness Report examined 158 countries and is aimed at influencing government policy.
  • India @ 117th: India rated at 111 in 2014, but in 2015 the country dropped six places to 117 out of 158 countries ranked in the 2015 list, which took into account data from 2012-2015, and was as usual was dominated by wealthy Nordic countries. 
  • The bottom ten were what are broadly described as crisis states, wracked by disease or war: Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast. Burkina Faso, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Benin, Syria, Burundi and Togo.

8) Beijing International Film Festival concludes

  • The 5th Beijing International Film Festival came to an end on 23rd April. The big winner of the night was Mexican director Bernardo Arellano, taking home the Best Feature Film award, for his movie `Beginning of Time.` The movie is a black comedy about the troubled life of an odd couple and their sons who have been missing for years.
9) Devastating quake leaves Nepal shaken, India stirred
  • A powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling a historic 19th century tower in Kathmandu and sparking a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.
  • The tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi and other northern cities in India, with reports they had lasted up to a minute. A collapse in communications hampered relief efforts, raising fear of a humanitarian disaster across Nepal, a nation of 28 million people. 
  • The death toll in that country stood at 1,130. Another 36 deaths were reported in India, four in Bangladesh and 12 in Tibet.
  • There were reports of devastation in outlying, isolated mountainous areas after the quake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, the highest in 81 years. Its epicentre was 80 km east of Nepal`s second-largest city, Pokhara. 
  • Tourist trail
  • Around 300,000 foreign tourists were estimated to be in Nepal for the spring trekking and climbing season.
Tower toppled:
  1. The revered Dharahara tower collapsed in Kathmandu when the quake erupted, shortly before noon. Built in 1832 for the queen of Nepal, the tower was a 60-metre-(100-foot)-high landmark open to visitors for the past 10 years. It also had a viewing balcony.
  2. A jagged stump just 10 meters high was all that was left of the lighthouse-like structure. Several bodies were extracted from the ruins. Kathmandu is home to ancient, wooden Hindu temples.
  3. The Everest avalanches, first reported by climbers, raised fears for those on the world`s loftiest peak, a year after a massive snowslide caused the deadliest incident there yet.
  4. In India too…
  5. The earthquake that hit Bihar too claimed 38 lives and left 133 injured, mostly in border districts of the north-eastern part of the State. The earthquake hit those areas of north-eastern Bihar, bordering Nepal which, two days ago, were badly affected by a thunderstorm in which 48 people were killed and hundreds rendered homeless. The most number of casualties – six each — has been reported from Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Champaran districts.
  6. Reports of death have also come from Darbhanga, Sheohar, Katihar, Madhubani, Forbesganj, Rohtas, Chhapra and Vaishali. 8 killed in U.P, due to tremors
10) China to provide 110 jet fighters to Pakistan
  • Pakistan will acquire 110 latest JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from China as the two countries forge closer economic and defence cooperation following President Xi Jinping`s visit to Islamabad earlier this week
  • China will deliver the first batch of 50 jets over a period of three years. The head of Chinese aircraft industry told a Chinese daily that under the contract signed between the two countries, Pakistan will receive a total of 110 JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft from China. It is not clear when the delivery of the remaining 60 jets will be completed.
11) Russia lifts ban on missile delivery to Iran
  • President Vladimir Putin on 13th April opened the way for Russia’s delivery of a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran, a move that would significantly bolster the Islamic republic’s military capability. Russia signed the $800 million contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but suspended their delivery three years later because of strong objections from the United States and Israel. Russia lifted that ban.
12) UN imposes arms embargo on Yemen`s Houthi rebels
  • The UN Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on Yemen`s Houthi rebels and its allies including former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son, Ahmed Saleh. It passed a resolution on 13th April calling on the rebels to withdraw from areas they have seized, including capital Sanaa. 14 countries voted in favor of the resolution while Russia abstained. Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Council, said the embargo should have been imposed on the whole country. The UNSC also imposed a global asset freeze and travel ban on Ahmed Saleh and rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.
  • A Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign two weeks ago to stop the rebels from advancing and restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Air strikes and fighting on the ground have pushed Yemen towards collapse. The United Nations said, at least 736 people have been killed and 2,700 injured since the 26th of last month, but officials believe the actual death toll may be far higher.
  • India had launched a massive rescue operation to evacuate its nationals from the war-ravaged country. Over 4,700 have been brought back home safely. Nearly 1,000 citizens from 41 countries were also evacuated by India. Yesterday, India evacuated all its staff from its embassy in Sanaa. It had closed down the embassy on the 9th of this month after winding up the air evacuation.