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December 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Author : uppy
Category : International Current Affairs
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December 2nd week 2015 current affairs

1) The German Cabinet approved a mandate offering military assistance to fight against the IS militant group in Syria.

  • The German Cabinet has approved a mandate offering military assistance to fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria.
  • The mandate aims at supporting France and the international alliance in its fight against the IS militant group. Now it requires Parliamentary approval to come into force.
  • This decision was taken by cabinet after an appeal was made by French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the 13 November Paris attacks carried by the terrorist organisation.
Key facts:
  1. The German mission will include sending Tornado reconnaissance jets, a refueling aircraft and a frigate for one year and can be extended by year.
  2. Under this mandate Germany could deploy up to 1,200 military personnel to support the international alliance but they won’t actively engage in combat missions.
  3. Germany will send unspecified number of Tornado aircrafts fitted with surveillance technology for logistics and reconnaissance purpose.
  4. These aircrafts can take high-resolution photos and infrared images at night and in bad weather and the tanker aircraft for refuelling of planes in mid-air.
  5. A German frigate will help to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
About Germany:
Capital: Berlin
Currency: Euro
Chancellor: Angela Merkel
 
About Syria:
Capital: Damascus
President: Bashar al-Assad
Currency: Syrian pound
 
2) The US will send special forces to Iraq and Syria.
  • The US will send Special Forces to Iraq and Syria to intensify fight against dreaded militant group Islamic State.
  • In full coordination with the government of Iraq, US is deploying a specialised expedition targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIS.
  • These special operators will, over time, be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIS leaders.
  • The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, general Joseph Dunford, also testified before the Congressional Armed Services Committee.
About ISIS:
  1. ISIS has released an e-book online on the terrorist organisation’s jihadist platform, Black Flags from the ISIS. In it, the terrorist cell has revealed that, ``The Islamic State would now expand beyond Iraq and Syria. It would now expand into… India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan (and several other countries)``.
  2. They also aimed their statements at PM Narendra Modi calling him a ‘right-wing Hindu nationalist’ who `worships weapons` and is `preparing his people for a future war against their number one enemy – Muslims`.
About Syria:
 
Capital: Damascus
President: Bashar al-Assad
Currency: Syrian pound
 
About Iraq:
 
Capital: Baghdad
Currency: Iraqi dinar
President: Fuad Masum
Prime minister: Haider al-Abadi
 
3) Britain’s RAF Tornado jets have carried out their first air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria.
  • Britain’s RAF Tornado jets have carried out their first air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria. Four Tornados from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus took part in the operation soon after MPs voted to approve bombing.
  • The strikes targeted the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria, which is under IS control, and were “successful”. MPs voted by 397 votes to 223 for UK military action against IS also known as Daesh in Syria after a 10-hour Commons debate.
  • Syrian officials insist Britain and its allies must follow Russia’s example and co-ordinate their campaign with Syrian government forces. If they don’t, they warn, they simply won’t succeed.
  • The deadlock over President Assad’s future role will continue to block the formation of a unified command against a common enemy. It will also stand in the way of Britain’s pledge that it will now also focus on finding a negotiated way out of this war.
  • Syrian activists and opposition groups feel bitterly let down that the West did not give them this kind of military support to help remove President Assad.
Key facts:
  1. In 2015, ISIS includes over 20,000 converts from around the world, including men and women from North America and Europe.
  2. Museums and archaeological sites, some of which date as far back as 3,000 BC, have been looted, bulldozed, drilled and sledge hammered by ISIS.
  3. ISIS believes in a prophecy that states only 12 legitimate caliphs will walk the earth with current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi acting as their eighth incarnation.
About Britain:
 
Capital: London
Currency: Pound sterling
PM: David Cameron

 

4) International Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation.

  • A broad coalition of nations, river basin organizations, business and civil society announced the creation of the international Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation.
  • The announcement was made at the Water Resilience Focus event held under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda on climate change. And, the event was held on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France.
  • The announcement was made as part of the Water Resilience Focus event under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) on climate change.
Paris Pact on water and climate change adaptation:
  1. Aims to make water systems which are very foundation of sustainable human development more resilient to climate change impacts.
  2. It involves a wide geographic coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations along with governments, local governments, funding agencies, companies and civil society
  3. Highlights other key partnerships and coalitions to make river basins, aquifers, lakes and deltas more resilient to climate change and reduce human interference with oceans.
  4. It was signed by almost all countries and have committed for over one billion dollars. India also has agreed to contribute 20 million dollars to build climate resilience through improved groundwater management.
About Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA):
  1. The LPAA on climate change is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP (conference of parties) presidencies, UNFCCC Secretariat and the Office of the Secretary-General of UN.
  2. Aims to strengthen climate action through 2015 and beyond by mobilizing robust global action towards low carbon and more climate resilient societies.
  3. It seeks to provide enhanced support to the existing initiatives and help to mobilize new partners by providing them a common platform for the visibility of their commitments, actions and results in the run up to COP21.
About France:
Capital: Paris
President: François Hollande
Prime minister: Manuel Valls
Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
 
5) Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a 60 billion dollars package to African nations.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a 60 billion dollars package to African nations during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • The package will benefit Africa in 10 major areas (sectors) such as industry, infrastructure, agriculture, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, green development, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC):
  1. It is the summit in which over 50 African countries are participating. It is also expected to unveil the contours of China’s security partnership with Africa.
  2. It would mainly focus on counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and funding to train troops within the framework of the African Union (AU).
About China:
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi
Prime minister: Li Keqiang
President: Xi Jinping

6) Australia’s Federal Parliament has passed Australian Citizenship Amendment Bill.
  • Australia’s Federal Parliament has passed Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, 2015 to strip citizenship of convicted persons on terrorism charges.
  • The new legislation allows government to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences.
Key provisions:
  1. Those who are found to have fought for banned terrorist group overseas, their citizenship will be automatically terminated.
  2. The dual nationals would lose their citizenship if the person is convicted of a terrorism offence and sentenced to at least 6 years’ of imprisonment.
  3. Those who are found engaged in terrorist acts such as providing or receiving training in for carrying a terrorist attack, recruit or finance terrorists (organisations) or terrorism.
  4. If any person is convicted of terrorism in the previous decade then the new law has retrospective measures to allow revoking of citizenship convicted terrorists.
About Australia:
Capital: Canberra
Currency: Australian dollar
Prime minister: Malcolm Turnbull

 

7) National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks between India and Pakistan.

  • National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks between India and Pakistan were held in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • It was attended by India’s NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua.
  • Foreign secretaries S. Jaishankar (India) and Aziz Ahmad Chaudhary (Pakistan) were also present during the high level meet.
Key facts:
  1. Both sides in the meeting discussed peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and other issues including tranquility along the Lince of Control.
  2. The dialogue mainly covered issues of key interest to both countries including terrorism for India and the Kashmir dispute for Pakistan.
  3. They also agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement between both countries.
Background:
  1. The NSA level talks come in the backdrop of the recent meeting between Prime ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris, France on the lines of UNFCCC summit.
  2. Earlier in September 2015, the planned NSA level talks based on 2015 Ufa declaration between both countries was called off at last moment.
8) Canada has successfully sent the first consignment of 250 tonnes of uranium to India.
  • Canada has successfully sent the first consignment of 250 tonnes of uranium to India as part of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between both countries.
  • It was shipped by Canada’s Cameco Inc, as part of contract with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) that was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offical visit to Canada in April 2015.
  • With this the 41-year-long hiatus in the bilateral nuclear cooperation between both countries finally came to an end. Canada had completely banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India after it had conducted first nuclear test on 18 May 1974. It was alleged that India had used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb for this test.
  • It should be noted that Canada is the second-largest producer of Uranium globally and is the third country to supply uranium to India after Russia and Kazakhstan.
Background:
  1. The India-Canada civil nuclear contract was signed in line with the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement that took effect in 2013.
  2. The agreement was signed after the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) had granted its waiver for use of atomic power for civilian purposes in 2008 ending India’s 3 decade long isolation from international nuclear trade.
  3. As per the supply agreement, Canada’s Cameco Corporation is going to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to India for next five years starting from year 2015. These supplies will be under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
About Canada:
Capital: Ottawa
Prime minister: Justin Trudeau
Currency: Canadian dollar
Governor-general: David Johnston
 
9) Opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won majority seats in the Venezuelan parliamentary.
  • Opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won majority seats in the Venezuelan parliamentary election that were held on 6 December 2015.
  • The Jesus Torrealba-led coalition secured 110 seats in the 167-seat legislature, while the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezueala (PSUV) won 55 seats so far.
  • The PSUV is headed by the incumbent president Nicolas Maduro.
  • For PSUV, It is the worst-ever defeat for the leftist movement founded by former leader Hugo Chavez in 1999.
About Venezuela:
Capital: Caracas
Currency: Venezuelan bolivar 

 

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