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December 4th week 2015 current affairs
Author : uppy
Category : National Current Affairs
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December 4th week 2015 current affairs

1)Construction work on the TAPI Gas Pipeline project started in Turkmenistan.

  • Construction work on the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) Gas Pipeline project started in Turkmenistan. The work started after the button to begin the welding process of the project was pressed.
  • The button was pressed by Vice President of India Hamid Ansari along with Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimohamedov.
  • The TAPI project is intended to deliver Caspian Sea natural from the energy-rich former Soviet republic Turkmenistan to three South Asian countries.
About TAPI Project:
  1. TAPI gas pipeline project is a proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  2. Countries involved: The abbreviation TAPI itself indicate its member countries- Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
  3. The pipe line connects central Asia with south Asia covering 1,800 km.
  4. The pipeline begins from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field (formally known as South Yoiotan Osman) that has gas reserves are 16 trillion cubic feet.
  5. The estimated construction cost of the project is 10 billion US dollars and is being funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  6. Capacity: It has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd).
  7. Supply Share: Both India and Pakistan will get supply of about 38 mmscmd whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply of natural gas.
  8. Runs through: Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan) – Herat and Kandahar province (Afghanistan) – Multan via Quetta (Pakistan) and ends at Fazilka in Punjab (India).
  9. Security: Establishment of an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) has been recommended to serve as the nucleus of the safety of the pipeline by a security consultant has recommended.
About Turkmenistan:
  • Capital: Ashgabat
  • Currency: Turkmenistan manat
  • President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
 
2)Saudi Arabian voters voted to elect women in council seats.
  • Saudi Arabian voters voted to elect women in at least 18 municipal council seats. This was a historic local elections in Saudi Arabia in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time.
  • This event occurred for the first time in the history of the country.
  • The winners hailed from different parts of the nation, ranging from largest city to the small village near Islam’s holiest site.
  • The conservative capital of Riyadh saw the most women candidates win, with four elected. Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, a region in Mecca.
About Saudi Arabia:
  1. Capital: Riyadh
  2. Currency: Saudi riyal
 
3)Gambia declared itself an Islamic republic.
  • Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has declared the tiny West African country an Islamic republic, saying he decided this because Islam is the religion of the majority of its citizens and to break from the nation’s colonial past.
  • It does not appear that President Yahya Jammeh’s announcement changes Gambia’s laws or the country’s constitutional status as a secular state.
  • ``In line with the country’s religious identity and values, I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state``, the Gambian leader revealed. About 90 per cent of Gambia’s 1.8 million people are Muslim. The country gained independence from Britain in 1965.
About Gambia:
  1. Capital: Banjul
  2. Currency: Gambian dalasi
  3. President: Yahya Jammeh
  4. Gambia is a popular beach destination for British tourists although Mr. Jammeh’s government has been frequently criticised by Britain and other Western powers for human rights abuses.
  5. Mr. Jammeh has ruled Gambia since seizing power in 1994.
 
4)Saudi Arabia announced the launch of Islamic Military Coalition to counter terrorism.
  • Saudi Arabia announced the launch of Islamic Military Coalition to counter terrorism. The coalition will be led by Saudi Arabia and see the participation of 34 nations.
  • It was established in pursuance of the principles and objectives of the charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which calls for member states to cooperate to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
  • The coalition includes nations with large and established armies such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries such as Libya and Yemen.
  • It will have a joint operations center based in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.
  • Member nations: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Palestine, Comoros, Qatar, Cote d`Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Yemen.
About Saudi Arabia:
Capital: Riyadh
Currency: Saudi riyal

5) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ended its 12-year investigation.

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons.
  • In this regard, IAEA Board of Governors have passed a resolution ending its long-running inquiry against Ian but allowing inspectors to continue to police the country’s nuclear programme.
  • Earlier IAEA has concluded that Iran had conducted nuclear weapons-related research until 2003 and to a lesser extent until 2009, but found no evidence was found.
  • The move is seen as a key step towards lifting UN, EU and US sanctions and a symbolic victory for Iran.
About International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
  1. IAEA is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  2. It was established as an autonomous organization in 1957 through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute.
  3. The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. It is independent of the United Nations but reports to both the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC).
 
6) Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in Iraq.
  • Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in Iraq, a quarter of a century after Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Baghdad following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
  • They were met at the airport. The staff consists of 35 people, led by the ambassador’s deputy. The Saudi ambassador to Baghdad was due to arrive by December 17 and would attend an official opening ceremony.
  • Reports say that a Saudi consulate is expected to open later in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • Meanwhile, the official Saudi Press Agency quoted Sabhan as saying in a statement that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ``directives to reopen the embassy in Baghdad embody his keenness to strengthen relations between the two countries and their peoples``.
Background:
  1. Diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Baghdad was restored in 2004 in the absence of a Saudi embassy in Baghdad after the US-led invasion of Iraq toppled the country’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein, in 2003.
  2. In 1990, the Iraqi Ba’athist regime, led by the slain Iraqi dictator, invaded Kuwait, an oil-rich Persian Gulf state, which resulted in a seven-month-long occupation.
  3. Saudi Arabia then severed its diplomatic relations with Iraq for the next 14 years.
  4. The reopening of the Saudi embassy comes as Iraqi officials have frequently accused Riyadh of abetting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has seized swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.
About Saudi Arabia:
  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Currency: Saudi riyal
 
7) India has raised concerns over massive subsidization of farm sectors by developed (rich) countries.
  • India has raised concerns over massive subsidization of farm sectors by developed (rich) countries. These concerns were raised Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Concerns raised by India:
  1. Pulled up developed (rich) countries for failing to reduce massive agricultural subsidisation which are generally trade distorting agribusiness subsidies.
  2. Agricultural reforms remain the corner stone of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) 2001 negotiations.
  3. All member countries must deliver on all three pillars of the negotiations in a balanced and logical manner of the DDA.
  4. Pitched for special safeguard mechanism (SSM) to protect legitimate interests of poor farmers and the food security of hundreds of millions in developing countries. Member countries should not continue with the rhetoric of a development agenda without an attempt to address issues which are of primary concern to developing economies.
  5. Trade distorting agribusiness subsidies of developed (rich) countries mainly framed by handful of farm lobbies of some countries is worsening destiny of millions of subsistence farmers of the developing countries.
 
8) UNSC unanimously adopted resolution cut off supply of revenue flows to Islamic State (IS) militant group.
  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted resolution cut off supply of revenue flows to Islamic State (IS) militant group. Decision in this regard was taken at the first-ever meeting of finance ministers of 15 member states to support a diplomatic push to end the war in Syria.
Facts of the Resolution:
  1. The resolution adopted calls on governments to ensure they have adopted laws that make the financing of ISIS a serious criminal offence.
  2. It stressed that already existing resolutions mandating States to ensure that financial assets are not transferred to terrorists by persons within their territory shall also apply to the payment of ransoms to individuals, groups, undertakings or entities on the ISIS and Al-Qaida Sanctions List regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid.
  3. The resolution called for increased international cooperation in sharing information and closer collaboration with the private sector to identify suspect transactions.
9) The United Nations-brokered Libyan Political Agreement on formation of a national unity government was signed.
  • The United Nations-brokered Libyan Political Agreement on formation of a national unity government was signed. The agreement puts in place a single set of legitimate institutions to secure a peaceful and prosperous Libya.
  • The agreement will also lead to the establishment of a single Government of National Accord and national institutions that will ensure broad representation which is evident from its signatories.
  • The agreement was signed by the participants of UN-Facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue. They were mainly representatives of two rival parliaments and governments - the Tripoli-based General National Congress and the UN-recognised House of Representatives in Tobruk.
Significance of the agreement:
  1. The agreement is expected to bring stability to Libya that is suffering from multiple problems-multiple governments, terrorism and hunger.
  2. Since toppling of long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been torn apart by violence.
  3. The conflict between the two powerful factions erupted in 2014 when they set up rival governments in a battle for control of the oil-rich North African nation.
  4. Due to infighting between two governments, the threat of Da’esh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL) has grown in recent times.
About Libya:
  • Capital: Tripoli
  • Currency: Libyan dinar
  • Prime minister: Abdullah al-Thani

10) Afghanistan has become 164th member nation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

  • Afghanistan has joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling it “historic” membership to boost the war-torn nation’s economy and build peace.
  • The WTO has formally approved Afghanistan’s membership at its 10th ministerial conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
  • Afghanistan’s membership came after formal approval by the WTO ministers in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
  • Afghanistan has become the 164th WTO member and the 36th least developed country (LDC) to join the global trade body after 11 years of negotiations.
  • Liberia joined the WTO at a similar ceremony at the conference in Nairobi.
Advantages for Afghanistan:
  1. By joining WTO, landlocked war-shattered Afghanistan hopes to reap the benefits of the WTO membership for its post-conflict reconstruction.
  2. Trade-led growth will help to create new economic opportunities in world’s poorest economy and create jobs especially for women and in turn help to reduce poverty.
  3. Post-conflict reconstruction will certainly contribute in a major way to reduce extremism and achieve regional peace and security.
About Afghanistan:
  • Capital: Kabul
  • Currency: Afghan afghani
  • President: Ashraf Ghani
11) UNSC unanimously adopted a peace process in Syria.
  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution No. 2254 outlining a peace process in Syria.
  • The resolution endorses an international roadmap for a Syria peace process to end Syria’s five-year-long civil war.
Key facts:
  1. The resolution endorses formal talks on a political transition between the President Bashar al-Assad led Syrian government and opposition in early January 2016.
  2. Calls for implementation of a ceasefire in parallel with the talks on a political transition. Offensive and defensive actions against such terrorist groups in Syria such as ISIS will continue.
  3. Calls for establishment of credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance in Syria within six months. Free and fair elections to be held in Syria under UN supervision within 18 months.
 
12) The United States (US) lifted a 40 year ban on oil exports.
  • The United States lifted a 40-year-old ban on export of oil, thus paving the way for energy deficient countries like India to open up another frontier to import oil from a distant friendly nation.
  • The ban was lifted as President Barack Obama today signed into law the Omnibus USD 1.8 trillion spending package and tax bill for the current fiscal ending. The move was welcomed by the industry, while pro- environmental groups were critical of it.
Background:
  1. The ban of crude oil exports was born of oil shock of 1973-1974 due to Arab oil embargo that had sent global shooting up of oil prices.
  2. The ban was first imposed in 1975 after Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting (OPEC) Countries had banned oil exports to the US in retaliation for its support of Israel during the Arab-Israeli war.
  3. The ban was imposed by US mainly for seeking greater energy independence. US also had created an emergency stockpile of crude oil the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 1975.
About The United States:
  • Capital: Washington, D.C.
  • President: Barack Obama
 
13) The United States (US) Senate ratifies reforms in the IMF.
  • The United States (US) Senate has ratified reforms in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost the representation of emerging economies as part of a budget bill.
  • The reforms ratified in the legislation are in line with the proposed 2010 Quota Reforms and now it will go to President Barack Obama for assent.
Key facts about the Bill:
  1. Put four emerging markets Brazil, China, India and Russia among the IMF’s top 10 shareholders and give emerging markets more influence at the global lender.
  2. Gives emerging markets more voting power and double the Fund’s resources. China’s vote at the IMF would increase to 6 per cent from 3.8 per cent. It would make it the third-largest shareholder from its previous sixth position.
  3. The voting power and quota shares of the IMF’s poorest member countries will be protected. IMF’s Board will entirely consist of elected Executive Directors.
About The United States:
  • Capital: Washington, D.C.
  • President: Barack Obama
 
14) Conservative People’s party won Spain election.
  • Governing conservative People’s Party (PP) of Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy won the most seats in the general elections of the country.
  • PP which secured 123 seats in the lower house of Parliament has fallen short of absolute majority which can be achieved if any party wins minimum 176 seats in the 350-member Parliament.
  • It had 186 seats in the outgoing parliament.For forming a government and govern for another four-year term, PP will have to rely on other parties.
Spanish transition to democracy:
  1. The Spanish transition to democracy refers to the restoration of democracy in Spain after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975.
  2. The transition began shortly after Franco`s death on 20 November 1975, while its completion has been variously said to be marked by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the failure of an attempted coup on 23 February 1981, or the electoral victory of the Spanish Socialist Workers` Party (PSOE) on 28 October 1982.
  3. Though faced with political and economic crises at the time, the transition to democracy was one of the factors that allowed Spain to join the European Economic Community and NATO.
 

 


 

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