International Current Affairs
International Current Affairs January 1st Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Asia`s largest underground railway station opens in Shenzen

  • Asia`s largest underground railway station, covering a total area of 147,000 square metres, opened in China`s southern Shenzhen city. The Futian High-speed Railway Station in downtown Shenzhen, Guangdong Province covers a total area of 147,000 square meters, or about the size of 21 football fields. Its three underground floors have seating for 3,000 passengers, according to Guangzhou Railway Corporation, which operates the station.
  • With the opening of the new station, travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong will be slashed to half an hour. The travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong takes about two hours by ordinary train. Residents in Shenzhen, which is adjacent to Hong Kong, can reach Hong Kong in 15 minutes.

2) Over 1 million reach Europe by sea in 2015: UN

  • Over one million migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2015, nearly half of them Syrians, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on 30th December. The milestone marks an almost five-fold increase over 2014 figures, when UNHCR recorded 219,000 arrivals via the perilous sea crossing. The massive movement of people this year in Europe, most of them seeking refuge from conflict, has exposed deep divisions among EU leaders on how to deal with the influx.
  • In total, 1,000,573 made their way across the Mediterranean since January 1, while 3,735 people who attempted the journey died or went missing, the UN agency said. Greece was by far the top landing spot with 844,176 arrivals, followed by Italy, a distant second with 152,700 migrants landing on its shores.
  • In June, more than 50,000 people crossed the sea, a number that shot up to over 150,000 by September, culminating in a record 218,000 crossings in October. After Syrians, Afghans were the second largest group at 21 percent of arrivals this year, followed by Iraqis at eight percent and Eritreans at four. Other migrants originated in Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia and Mali, but in relatively small numbers.
  • The UN has warned that there may be no let up in sea crossings next year, especially if efforts to end the conflict in Syria continue to falter.


3) Majority of world’s migrant workers are engaged in the services sector: ILO

  • Current Affirs Migrant workers account for 72.7 per cent of the 206.6 million working age migrant population in the world (above 15 years), with highest number (about 71 per cent) of them engaged in the services sector, says a recent study by the International Labour Organisation.
  • The bulk of migrant workers in the world in 2013 were engaged in services, 106.8 million out of a total of 150.3 million, amounting to 71.1 per cent. Industry, including manufacturing and construction, accounted for 26.7 million (17.8 per cent) and agriculture for 16.7 million (11.1 per cent), says ILO Global Estimates of Migrant Workers. The services sector includes travel, hospitality, housekeeping, nursing, domestic work, among others.
  • Migrants (above 15 years) form 3.9 per cent of the total global population, but the proportion of migrant workers is higher (4.4 per cent) among all workers, the report adds.
  • Also, while most migrant workers are male – 83.7 million – and engaged in industry and agriculture, a majority of the 66.6 million women migrant workers were engaged in vulnerable jobs, such as domestic work.

  • Almost every sixth domestic worker in the world was an international migrant in 2013, says the report, adding that high-income countries accounted for close to 80 per cent or 9.1 million of the estimated 11.5 million migrant domestic workers globally in 2013, with 73.4 per cent of these being women, against 26.6 per cent men.
  • Two broad regions – Northern America, and Northern, Southern and Western Europe – accounted for almost half (48.5 per cent) of the total migrant workers.
  • With geo-political crises and climate change threatening to increase the number of migrants across regions in the coming years, the ILO has called for making “fair” migration policies a central element of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

4) Saudi Arabia executes 47 prisoners, including Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

  • Saudi Arabia says it has executed 47 prisoners on 2nd January, including Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric`s name was among a list of the 47 carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
  • It cited the Interior Ministry for the information. Saudi state television also reported the executions. Al-Nimr was a central figure in Shiite protests that erupted in 2011 with respect to the Arab Spring.
  • Most of those executed were involved in a series of attacks carried out by al Qaeda from 2003-06, Interior Ministry said in a statement. Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority has long complained of marginalisation. His arrest two years ago during which he was shot, triggered days of unrest. Sheikh Nimr`s death sentence was confirmed in October. Iran has warned that executing Nimr would cost Saudi Arabia dearly.
  • Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to several advocacy groups that monitor the death penalty worldwide.