International Current Affairs
november 2nd week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Largest Hindu temple in Australia opened on November 30

  • A Durga Temple, claimed as the largest Hindu Temple in Australia will be opened in Melbourne on 30th November, meeting the wishes of the growing Indian population in the country. The temple is located in Rockbank, near Melbourne. It has been under construction for the last five years. The temple is said to provide Hindus a worship place in Australia’s second largest city. The temple will organize several events including Hindu festivals like Dussehra apart from holding bhajans and religious lectures.
2) Russia sanctions against Turkey
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a raft of punitive economic sanctions against Turkey on 28th November, underlining the depth of the Kremlin`s anger toward Ankara four days after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.
  • The decree, which entered into force immediately, said charter flights from Russia to Turkey would be banned, that tour firms would be told not to sell any holidays there, and that unspecified Turkish imports would be outlawed, and Turkish firms and nationals have their economic activities halted or curbed. The decree, posted on the Kremlin`s website, spoke of the need to protect Russia`s national security and Russian citizens "from criminal and other illegal activities". 
  • In it, Putin ordered the government to prepare a list of goods, firms and jobs that would be affected. Some of the measures announced have already been informally introduced. 
  • Turkey mainly sells food, agricultural products and textiles to Moscow and is also one of the most popular holiday destinations for Russians.
3) Adolescent deaths from AIDS tripled since 2000: Unicef
  • The number of adolescent deaths from AIDS has tripled over the last 15 years, most of the patients having acquired the disease when they were infants, according to new data released on 27th November by Unicef. 
  • AIDS is the number one cause of death among adolescents in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents globally. 
  • Among HIV-affected populations, adolescents are the only group for which the mortality figures are not decreasing, according to Unicef, reported Xinhua. 
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest prevalence, girls are vastly more affected, accounting for 7 in 10 new infections among 15-19 year olds. However, among adolescents in that age group in the region, just over 1 in 10 is tested for HIV, it said. 
  • According to the data in Unicef`s Statistical Update on Children, Adolescents and AIDS, less than half of children under 2 months old are tested for HIV. Only 1 in 3 of the 2.6 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV is on treatment. 
  • The new data states that most adolescents who die of AIDS-related illnesses acquired HIV when they were infants, 10 to 15 years ago, when fewer pregnant women and mothers living with HIV received anti-retroviral medicines to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child.
  • However, since 2000, nearly 1.3 million new infections among children have been averted, largely due to advances in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • By 2014, 3 in 5 pregnant women living with HIV received anti-retroviral treatment to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies. This has translated into a 60 percent reduction in AIDS-related deaths among children under 4 years of age since 2000, according to the Unicef.
  • The data reveal that currently among adolescents (15-19): 26 new infections occur every hour; and about half of those living with HIV are in just six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Mozambique and Tanzania.

4) G20 pledge robust fight against patchy economy

  • Current Affirs G-20 summit has begun at Antalya in Turkey on 15th November. In this summit Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies will be focusing on the fight against terrorism in the aftermath of Paris attack.
  • The heads of the world`s 20 largest economies pledged to use all of their policy tools to tackle uneven economic growth that falls short of expectations, according to a draft Group of 20 (G20) communiqué.
  • As the G20 leaders gathered in Turkey for a two-day meeting on how to boost global growth, the economic discussions were overshadowed by deadly attacks claimed by Islamic State in Paris on 15th November that left more than 125 people dead. 
  • In a nod to uncertainty in financial markets and worries about lagging output in much of the world, the leaders said they would stick to a target to boost the G20`s collective economic output by an additional two per cent by 2018. 
  • The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has underlined the ECB`s readiness to extend money printing, warning that inflation, a key measure of economic health, was flagging. 
  • The timing of the Fed hike has been a constant source of concern for financial markets and emerging market economies, which have seen their currencies hammered this year as the dollar has risen sharply on expectations of a US rate hike.
  • In language likely aimed at the Fed hike, the leaders highlighted the need to "carefully calibrate" and clearly communicate policy decisions, to make sure markets are not taken by surprise by such key decisions. 
  • The leaders endorsed a package of measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance, although questions remain about whether countries will follow through on the plans or leave loopholes multinationals can exploit. The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) measures aim to close the gaps in existing international tax rules. 
  • The leaders also noted the scale of the refugee crisis, saying all states need to share the burden, including through refugee resettlement and other forms of humanitarian aid, while underscoring the importance of a political solution.
5) BRICS voice against terrorism
  • The leaders of BRICS nations have urged the global community to work in unison against terrorism. Meeting at Antalya in Turkey on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, they said united action against terrorism is a priority area for the world. Indian Prime Minister Modi said India attaches highest importance to it and the theme for the economic grouping would be “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions,” which, in short, will be `BRICS` again. 
  • The “New Development Bank” by the BRICS would be essential to support emerging economies; he said and assured full support to China, which takes over the presidentship of the G-20 by this year end. 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored the challenge of refugee crisis also, which he said deserves combined efforts of the world. Chinese president Xi Jinping, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, South African President Jacob Zuma also condemned terrorism in unequivocal terms and called for collective action against the menace.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined World leaders in condemning terrorism and has outlined India’s plans to contribute to mitigate climate change. Addressing the working lunch session on climate in the G20 summit at Antalya in Turkey, he said terrorism calls for a comprehensive global response and urged that combating it must be major priority for G20.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s addressed at the G20 session on development and climate change gave a broad outline of India’s plans to contribute to the global efforts to control climate change, apart from joining the world`s leaders including US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in unequivocally condemning terrorism. Expressing confidence of India achieving 7.5% growth in the near term, Mr Modi said India can become a pillar of global growth and stability.
  • He announced plans of generating an additional capacity of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, cut in fuel subsidies and tax on coal and, National Clean Energy Fund of $3 billion to promote clean technologies. He pitched for fixing a target date before 2030 to reduce the high remittance charges.
6) India calls for non-discriminatory & transparent global trading system:
  • According to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, all elements of the WTO`s Bali pact should be fully implemented for realizing a transparent and non-discriminatory global trading system. In his intervention at the G-20 working lunch on `Trade and Energy`, Modi said the global trade slowdown was a major concern and prospects for rise in trade momentum remain bleak. Stating that efforts to accelerate global economic growth will help trade, he said a transparent, equitable, on-discriminatory and rule-based global trading system is essential for the world economy. 
  • In the last meeting at Bali in Indonesia, the WTO members agreed on the trade facilitation pact and food grain stockpile for food security purposes. As regards regional trade agreements, PM Modi noted that, such pacts "should not fragment the global trading system.
  • On energy sector, Modi said, the grouping of world`s biggest economies (G-20) should increase research and development in clean and renewable energy and reduce cost to make it affordable and accessible for all. The World Trade Organisation`s (WTO) 10th ministerial meeting is scheduled from December 15 to 18 at Nairobi in Kenya.

7) India urges guidelines on climate change

  • India has urged the world leaders that any action on Climate Change should be within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • India’s Sherpa for the G20 and Vice-Chairman of NITI Ayog Arvind Panagariya expressed confidence that in the forthcoming “Conference of Parties” CoP-21 meet at Paris by the end of this month would come out with a widely recognizable outcome.
  • On the question of fossil fuel cuts, he said though the Union Government is taking moves in that direction on its part, complete phase out of fossil subsidies cannot be acceptable as states have the powers to subsidize electricity for farming and fertilizer subsidy cannot be done away with. In the G-20 summit, India strongly advocated implementation of the Bali Package and ratification of trade facilitation agreement, for improvements on trade front, he informed.
  • India made a strong push for reduction of remittance charges which has come down to 7.5 percent on an average from the earlier 10 percent, but still is on a higher side. Mr Panagariya said India is favouring a rate as small as 3 percent. India is the world’s highest recipient of remittances from abroad through Indians working there. 
  • A broad acceptance on controlling the problem of “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” which in effect means corporates transferring the profits earned in one country to other tax havens to avoid taxes where the profit has been earned. The NITI Ayog Vice Chairman said the controlling mechanism is now moving towards implementation phase.
8) US, Russia agree for UN-backed peace talks to resolve Syrian crisis
  • US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for UN-sponsored peace talks and a ceasefire to resolve years of war in Syria. US President Obama and Russian President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be proceeded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well a ceasefire, the official told reporters after the leaders met on the sidelines of a G20 summit taking place.
10) France vows to step up air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq, Syria
  • France has vowed to step up air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria after 13th November attacks in Paris. French defence ministry in a statement said that for the second time in 24 hours, the French military conducted an air raid against Daesh in Raqa in Syria.
  • Daesh is another name for the IS militants group. Ten Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters carried out the raid at 0030 GMT, dropping 16 bombs simultaneously hitting and destroying two targets. The raid was conducted in coordination with US forces, the statement said. France has carried out air raids against IS in Syria since September but stepped up its raids after Friday`s attacks in Paris.
10) 6.7 magnitude earthquake strikes western Greece
  • The US Geological Survey reported on 17th November a magnitude 6.7 earthquake just off the west coast of Greece. The quake occurred 10 km below the Earth`s surface, USGS said. A second reading gave a magnitude of 6.8 and a depth of just 5 km.