International Current Affairs
november 1st week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) ASEAN leaders sign document for launching new economic bloc

  • In a historic development, ASEAN leaders on 22nd November declared the establishment of a European Union style regional economic bloc, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
  • The declaration, signed by all ten members during the ongoing ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur will create a community of a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour in the ASEAN region. It will integrate Southeast Asia`s diverse economies, a region with 620 million people and a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.4 trillion.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one among the East Asia Summit leaders who witnessed the historic moment. The ASEAN members termed emergence of the Community an important milestone ever since it was founded in 1967. 
  • In another development, the ASEAN members endorsed the ASEAN 2025-Forging ahead Together that chalks out a plan of action for next ten years. 
  1. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is chairing the meeting, cited the possibility of ASEAN`s GDP growing to become the 4th-biggest in the world through the economic bloc.
  2. The plan calls for abolishing tariffs on imports within the region and promoting the liberalization of service industries such as retailing and tourism. It also calls for more free movement within the region of doctors, architects and others with special skills.
  3. Member nations plan to speed up efforts to abolish regulations that protect their industries from imports.
  4. The new economic community will have a population of more than 600 million. ASEAN member nations want to boost market competitiveness to achieve further economic development.
2) Will hunt down IS leaders and cut off group`s financing: US President Obama
  • US President Barack Obama vowed that the United States and its international partners will not relent in the fight against the Islamic State militant group.
  • Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he said they will hunt down IS leaders and cut off the group`s financing. Mr Obama insisted that the world will not tolerate extremist attacks on civilians in Paris and elsewhere. The 13/11 terrorist attacks in Paris claimed by IS group killed 130 people and injured hundreds more. 
  • Wrapping up his nine-day trip to Turkey and Asia, Mr Obama also pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to align himself with the US led coalition to fight the IS group, reminding him that the terrorist group has been accused of bringing down a Russian passenger jet last month, killing 224 people.
  • He said, Russia has stepped up its air campaign in Syria, but Moscow has focused its attention on moderate rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Obama called on Russia to make a strategic adjustment and drop its support for Assad, insisting the violence in Syria cannot be stopped as long as Assad is in office.
3) Earthquake in southwestern Mexico
  • 5.5 magnitude quake hit Mexico City on 23rd November, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), shaking buildings and forcing office towers to be evacuated, although there were no initial reports of damage or injuries. 
  • The USGS said the 5.5. magnitude quake had its epicenter 257 km (160 miles) south of Mexico City in the southwestern state of Guerrero. It said the quake occurred at a depth of 37 km (23 miles). 
  • Mexico, located on top of three tectonic plates, is one of the most earthquake-prone regions on Earth. Mexico City is built on an ancient lake bed surrounded by volcanoes and whose liquid-rich soil amplifies seismic waves.

4) Turkey shoots down Russian military plane on Syria border

  • The Turkish military has shot down a Russian warplane on the border with Syria on 24th November. Turkey confirmed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane as it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Su-24 was hit by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16s while it was flying over Syrian territory.
  • The two pilots ejected as their burning aircraft plunged into a Syrian hillside. Video footage has shown the dead body of one of the pilots, surrounded by armed rebels. According to rebel and opposition activist sources, the first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot at him as he landed after ejecting from the plane.
5) China building world`s largest animal cloning centre
  • Current Affirs The world`s largest animal cloning factory is under construction in China, with plans to churn out dogs, horses and up to a million cattle a year. According to the official Xinhua news agency, the 31-million US Dollar facility will include cloning laboratories and a gene bank.
  • It is being set up by Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife and South Korea`s Sooam Biotech - whose founder was embroiled in controversy a decade ago over claims to have cloned human embryos along with two Chinese research institutions.
  • It will develop animals such as pet and police dogs, racehorses and cows, to be sold on the open market on an industrial scale. The factory in the northern port of Tianjin is set to start production next year, with initial capacity of one lakh cattle embryos a year.
6) India, China `most affected by weather-related disasters`: UN
  • India and China are among the countries most affected by weather-related disasters. According to a United Nations report, between 1995 and this year, the two nations have accounted for more than 3 billion disaster-affected people that is 75 per cent of the global total of 4.1 billion people.
  • The report, which comes ahead of the Paris climate conference starting on the 30th of this month, has been titled `The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction`. It said, in India, 805 million people were affected by weather-related disasters during the period, second only after China where 2,274 million people were affected. 
  • India was hit by 288 disasters over the last 20 years, third only after the US and China. The report, however, said in recent years, national preparedness and more efficient responses to disasters have significantly reduced the numbers of people dying from weather-related hazards in some countries.


7) 2015 to be hottest on record, 2016 could be even hotter due to El Nino: UN

  • This year is set to be the hottest on record and 2016 could be even hotter due to the current El Nino weather pattern. The UN weather agency, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), on 25th November said that data until the end of October showed this year`s temperatures running well above any previous 12 month period. The rise is due to a combination of a strong El Nino and human-induced global warming. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said global average surface temperatures in 2015 are likely to reach a symbolic and significant milestone of 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era.
8) UN renews call to abolish death penalty in Bangladesh
  • The United Nation (UN) has renewed its call on the Bangladesh government to immediately impose a moratorium on capital punishment. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the government should not implement death sentences awarded by the International Crimes Tribunal. The statement has given the doubts that have been raised about the fairness of trials conducted before the tribunal.
9) Children Bear Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF
  • More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence and 160 million in high drought zones, leaving them exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF has said. Of the 530 million children in the flood-prone zones, some 300 million live in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty -- on less than $3.10 a day, according to UNICEF report, released on 23rd November
  • The report pointed out that "of those living in high drought severity areas, 50 million are in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty".
  • Climate change means more droughts, floods, heatwaves and other severe weather conditions.
  • These events can cause death and devastation, and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea, according to the report.
  • The vast majority of the children living in areas at extremely high risk of floods are in Asia, and the majority of those in areas at risk of drought are in Africa, said the report.
  • In the upcoming 21st UN climate change conference, known as COP21, world leaders gathering in Paris from November 30 to December 11 will seek to reach agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which is critical to limiting potentially catastrophic rises in temperature.
10) Bangladesh: 1971 war crime convicts executed
  • Two Bangladesh opposition leaders have been executed for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid were hanged in Dhaka`s central jail. They were convicted of genocide and rape charges.
  • Chowdhury has been an influential politician. He was elected MP six times. Mujahid was a top leader of Bangladesh`s largest Islamist party. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said they were hanged after President Abdul Hamid rejected appeals for clemency by the two men.