International Current Affairs
november 4th week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Nepal asks India to ease supplies, calls protesters for talks

  • Nepal`s Cabinet on 9th November passed a special resolution asking India to open the border entry points to ease supplies of essential goods like medicines, gas and petroleum to the landlocked country, reeling under acute shortage due to blockade of key trade points. The Cabinet called on the Indian government to further improve the bilateral relations and make the bond of friendship strong by easing the supplies. The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) also asked the agitating Madhesi-based parties to seek solutions to their demands through dialogue. 
  • The development came amid a political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded key border trade points of Nepal with India, bringing supplies of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas for over a month.
2) UN conference reaches a deal on using radio frequencies to track airliners via satellite
  • A UN conference has reached a landmark deal on using radio frequencies to track airliners via satellite in the hope of avoiding a repeat of the disappearance of a Malaysian plane last year.
  • Current methods for tracking aircrafts depend on radar, which has a limited range and a radio system called ADSP. This allows an aircraft to broadcast signals to ground stations which can then be used to calculate its position. 
  • The loss of MH370 and the subsequent mystery over its whereabouts highlighted the need for better mechanism. Under plans being drawn up by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, satellites will also be used to pick up ADSP signals, enabling aircraft to be tracked continually around the globe.
3) Aung San Suu Kyi`s NLD party wins majority in Myanmar`s polls
  • Current Affirs Aung San Suu Kyi`s pro-democracy party won a majority in Myanmar`s historic polls, according to a tally of official results released on 13th November. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party was awarded 21 further lower house seats by the Union Election Commission, taking its overall Parliamentary tally to 348 sailing through the mark for a basic majority. The victory will allow it to elect a president and form a government in a historic shift in power from the Army. 
  • The election, the first Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy party has contested since 1990, saw a huge turnout that has yielded more than 80 percent of seats for the NLD. 
  • A big majority gives Suu Kyi, 70, leverage in the political wrangling ahead with a military establishment that has been chastened at the polls but retains sweeping powers. Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency by a junta-scripted constitution, which also guarantees the Army a 25 per cent bloc of seats.

4) Europe Pledges $1.9 Billion for `Root Causes` of African Migration

  • At a summit in Malta attended by European and African leaders, the European Union agreed on a nearly $2 billion aid package aimed at tackling the root causes of migration. Hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, overwhelming many European states’ ability to cope with the influx. The European Union agreed on a $1.9 billion fund aimed at addressing what it called ‘the root causes of migration.” The money is aimed at creating jobs, improving healthcare and conflict prevention.
  • The plan received a mixed response from many African leaders, including Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. Issoufou said $1.9 billion is not enough; it is far from being enough. The needs are enormous. That is why the EU is calling on other partners to participate in the setting up of trust funds. 
  • European leaders presented a 17-page "action plan" to tackle the crisis. In addition to the fund, Europe will attempt to sign individual migration agreements with African countries in return for development aid. The number of people crossing the Mediterranean from Africa is small compared to the arrival of over 650,000, mostly Syrians, who came through Turkey and Greece. Most are trying to reach northern Europe. Sweden, long seen as the beacon of support for migrant rights on the continent, became the latest member of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone to re-introduce temporary border checks on 12th November.
5) Over 125 killed in multiple attacks in Paris; ISIS claims responsibility
  • In France, over 125 people have been killed in a series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians on 14th November. The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts killing at least 87 people. 
  • Eight attackers also reported killed. Meanwhile, French President has declared a state of emergency in Paris. This was a day the French never imagined a series of attacks across Paris with blood and screams all around and people were running for safety. A second attack on French soil within a year`s time but the magnitude is magnanimous this time. Over a hundred people killed and hundreds others injured.
  • The agencies and administration were left clueless. The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks.
6) World War I memorial unveiled in UK to honour Sikh soldiers
  • A memorial commemorating Sikh soldiers of the British- Indian Army who fought in World War I has been unveiled in the West Midlands region of England. The National World War I Sikh Memorial statue, opened on 1st November at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, commemorates the 130,000 Sikh men who took part in the war. The statue was funded through a campaign by the World War I Sikh Memorial Fund.
7) UN panel adopts draft resolution backing abolition of nuclear arms
  • A UN committee has adopted a draft resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear arms and asking world leaders to visit the two cities that have suffered nuclear attacks. China and Russia opposed the resolution. The UN General Assembly`s disarmament committee adopted the resolution yesterday with 156 countries voting in support. Japan has submitted similar measures for 22 straight years. The resolution stresses the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and urges nuclear powers to be more transparent in their disarmament efforts. The United States, Britain and France abstained from voting despite having supported the resolution in past years.

8) China parliament ratifies AIIB agreement

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) agreement has been ratified by China`s top legislature on 4th November, which establishes the legal framework for the Bank. The ratification is a significant step closer to the AIIB`s formal establishment slated for the end of this year, as China is the bank`s largest shareholder. The 54 founding members of the bank had already signed the agreement and the remaining three are expected to sign before the end of this year.
  • All prospective members should have their legislatures ratify the agreement before the end of 2016 to formally become founding members. The China-backed US Dollar 100 billion-bank in which India is also a founder member is a multilateral development institution tasked with financing infrastructure development across Asia.
9) Maldives declares National Emergency
  • Current Affirs Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has declared a state of national emergency, initially for a period of 30 days. This declaration comes under Article 253 of constitution. It empowers the President to suspend certain laws and citizen rights and detain political leaders. Although the government has not elaborated on the reason for the declaration, sources in the government claim that the measure has been taken in view of the recent arms seizure by the police.
11) Maldives Parliament impeaches Vice President accused of plotting to kill President
  • Maldivian Parliament Majlis impeached Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor on 5th November. 61 parliamentarians out of the 85 present voted in favour of the motion. Fifty-seven votes were required to impeach the Vice President. The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party boycotted the vote. Adeeb is the second Vice President to be impeached in Maldives within the last six months. 
  • He has been charged with plotting to assassinate the President and is under arrest since 24th of last month. A number of his supporters have also been arrested in connection with the blast on the speedboat on which President Abdulla Yameen was travelling on 28th of September.
12) Nepal, China agree to open 7 more border trade points
  • Nepal and China have agreed to open seven more border trading points to facilitate flow of essential goods to the landlocked country. Currently the country is reeling under acute shortage due to blockade of a key border point with India by Madhesis protesting against the new Constitution.
  • The annual meeting of Nepalese and Chinese customs officials in Kathmandu on the issue of simplifying trade and customs procedures concluded with the signing of a 20-point agreement.
13) China, Taiwan meeting first time in 60 years
  • The leaders of China and Taiwan met on 7th November for the first time in more than 60 years for talks that come amid rising anti-Chinese sentiment on the self-ruled democratic island and weeks ahead of elections. The talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, the first such meeting since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, are being held at the neutral venue of Singapore. Each leader hopes to seal his legacy as one who helped bring decades of division and mistrust to a mutually acceptable end. Both sides have said no agreements will be signed or joint statements issued.
Other important points:
  1. Taiwan and China have identified a broad agenda of engagement, including talks to narrow down differences over a “one-China” formulation, easing security tensions and collaboration in Beijing-led connectivity projects, following historic talks after a gap of 66 years, between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou.
  2. According to the Taiwanese leader both sides uphold the ‘one China’ principle, but each has a different interpretation of it.
  3. Both leaders agreed in principle to establish a hotline as a major confidence building measure.