International Current Affairs
International Current affairs May 2nd Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Greece passes pension, tax reform bill.

  • Greece`s Parliament approved a bill reforming the debt-ridden country`s pension and tax systems.
  • The bill, introduced as part of the requirements the country must meet under its third international bailout, is set to increase social security and pension contributions, and raise taxes for most people.
  • The bill was passed by the 153 lawmakers of the ruling Syriza-Independent government coalition in voting.
  • The government now expects creditors will move to lighten its debt burden, but most of those owed oppose forgiving part of Greece’s massive debt.

About Greece:

Capital: Athen
Currency: Euro
Prime Minister: Alexis Tsipras

2) Air show opens in Dubai.

  • The Airport Show, whose 16th edition will be held from May 9 - 11 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
  • Over 300 leading global companies are expected to participate at the 2016 event, showcasing their latest technology, innovation and product offerings to a projected 7,500 attendees, including 150 hosted buyers and over 50+ regional aviation authorities expected to attend the event.
  • The Airport Show is an ideal platform for showcasing the latest technologies and learning about emerging trends and networking with key decision-makers and getting first-hand knowledge about the US $100 billion regional airport expansion and modernization programmes.
  • The show has recorded a 30 per cent growth in participants for the Business Connect programme with an all-time high participation of 154 buyers. This year`s show will see buyers from - Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the host country, UAE.

3) Norway sets up Panama Papers hotline.

  • Norway`s white-collar crimes police unit established a telephone hotline for people seeking to confess to tax evasion linked to the Panama Papers documents leak and those who come forward could expect more lenient treatment.
  • The initiative was announced one day after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a database containing a small fraction of the more than 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, making it possible for anyone to search the released documents.
  • Oekokrim has set up a phone number that can be used by those who wish to put their cards on the table and provide information about potential income or capital abroad which is not available to the Norwegian tax authorities the agency responsible for tackling economic crime.

4) Obama 1st serving US President to visit Hiroshima.

  • Barack Obama becomes the first U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, the first target of an atomic bomb 70 years ago.
  • The Republicans have accused Mr. Obama of being on a perpetual global apology tour - referring to his various remarks that sought to recalibrate U.S. positions towards Europe, the Muslim world and the war on terror.
  • Many conservative commentators and politicians think Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has diminished the superpower status of the U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump’s ‘Make American Great Again’.

5) France to set up deradicalisation centres.

  • France will create centers in each region of the country to de-radicalise people or prevent them becoming involved in jihadist groups. The fight against jihadism is without doubt the big challenge of our generation.
  • The plan, which will cost an additional 40 million Euros (USD 45.5 million) by 2018 on top of the current funding, aims to double existing efforts to try to help people already in jihadist networks or those likely to join such groups.
  • The measures are a response to the deaths of 147 people in jihadist attacks in France last year.
  • Jihadist gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish supermarket, killing 17 people, and then 130 people were killed in coordinated attacks on the capital claimed by the Islamic State group.

6) India committed to a strong partnership for protection of children within SAARC countries.

  • The three day meeting of SAARC Countries on protection of children ended with the Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi. The meeting of South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) was held to assess the progress made in collective effort to promote child rights and make the SAARC region safe for children.
  • The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh the SAARC region is home to the world’s largest population of children. Children are our most precious resource and it is most critical to safeguard the innocence and security of childhood.
  • Highlighting the importance of SAIEVAC, it is a coalition of States which aims at protection of the rights of children, particularly protection of children from all forms of discrimination, abuse, neglect, exploitation, torture, trafficking i.e. any kind of violence.
  • The SAIEVAC meeting will provide the subsequent agenda in terms of strengthening the institutional and coordination mechanisms and to develop a regional strategy that defines clear milestones towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About SAARC:

Headquarters: Kathmandu
Secretary-General: Arjun Bahadur Thapa

7) US-India Defence Cooperation Act introduced in Senate.
Two top American senators have introduced a legislation which if passed by Congress would elevate the status of the Indo-US defence relationship on par with that of America`s closest allies like NATO and Israel.



  • The US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn - co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus.
  • The legislation, a similar version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives, institutionalizes the US government`s focus on the US-India security relationship while sending a powerful signal to India that the US is a reliable and dependable defence partner.
  • This bill supports strengthening our bilateral relationship, particularly in defence, and bestows upon India the status it deserves as a partner in promoting security in Asia and around the world issued by US India Business Council (USIBC) which applauded the bill.
  • As an important partner with a flourishing economy, India has huge potential as a market for US defence manufacturers, which support millions of American jobs.

8) India, China, 3 others sign pact on tax info sharing.

  • India and five other nations, including China and Israel, signed a pact for automatic exchange of information on tax issues and develop new tools and standards for tackling tax base erosion and evasion.
  • As part of continuing efforts to boost transparency by multinational enterprises (MNEs), Canada, Iceland, India, Israel, New Zealand and the People`s Republic of China signed the Multilateral Competent Authority agreement for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports, bringing the total number of signatories to 39 countries.
  • The signing ceremony took place Beijing. The pact allows all signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange Country-by-Country Reports with each other.
  • It will help ensure that tax administrations obtain a complete understanding of how MNEs structure their operations, while also ensuring that the confidentiality of such information is safeguarded.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued final tax policy recommendations stemming from its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.

9) Islamic State releases app for children.

  • ISIS has launched its first mobile app for children to teach them the Arabic alphabet and the vocabulary taught by it includes jihadist themes along with words like ‘tank’, ‘gun’ and ‘rocket’.
  • The Islamic State’s ‘Library of Zeal’ has released an application for teaching the Arabic alphabet to children on Android devices.
  • The vocabulary taught within the application includes jihadist themes. The application was released through Islamic State Telegram channels and on other file sharing websites.


10) WHO proposes faster test for superbug form of TB.

  • The World Health Organization recommended a speedier, cheaper treatment plan for patients with superbug forms of tuberculosis (TB) - a change that should help cure thousands of the killer disease.
  • The WHO`s leading TB expert was a critical step forward in tackling the "public health crisis" of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), the Geneva-based health agency that the new treatment plan could now be completed in 9-12 months rather than the two years previously recommended.
  • The shorter treatment regimen also costs significantly less - at just under $1,000 per patient in developing countries
  • The new WHO recommendations offer hope to hundreds of thousands of MDR-TB patients who can now benefit from a test that quickly identifies eligibility for the shorter regimen, and then complete treatment in half the time and at nearly half the cost.

11) Pakistan set to get $510 million from IMF.

  • Pakistan is poised to get USD 510 million from the IMF as part of a three-year, USD 6.7 billion assistance programme.
  • The International Monetary Fund reviewed Pakistan`s economic performance before saying that USD 510 million will be available under a three-year, USD 6.7 billion financial assistance programme.
  • The agreement was reached after the IMF mission held discussions with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ashraf Wathra and other senior officials in Dubai.
  • Dawn reported that the money will be provided when the review is approved by the IMF`s management and executive board.
  • After productive discussions, the mission and the Pakistani authorities have reached staff-level agreement on the completion of the eleventh review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.

12) U.S. lauds Belgium for starting air strikes in Syria against Islamic State.

  • Belgium will extend its F-16 air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq into Syria, as it grapples with the aftermath of deadly IS-claimed bomb attacks in Brussels in March.
  • Belgium launched its first attacks against IS in Iraq in late 2014 as part of the U.S led coalition, but decided against strikes in Syria amid public fears over getting dragged into a wider conflict.
  • However, the November 13 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead brought home the IS threat to the heart of Europe and changed sentiment sharply.
  • The Belgium government was reconsidering its position, as it did not make sense to attack IS in Iraq but not in Syria.
  • The Paris and Brussels attacks have both been linked to the same jihadist cell with links to Islamic State in Syria.

13) China launches a remote sensing satellite to carry out land surveys.

  • China successfully launched a remote sensing satellite to carry out land surveys and disaster relief.
  • The satellite named Yaogan-30 was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China`s Gobi Desert.
  • The satellite will be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
  • Yaogan-30 was carried by a Long March-2D rocket, the 227th mission for the Long March rocket family.

14) White House launched project to study microbes.

  • The White House is launched the National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) - an ambitious plan to better understand the microbes that live in humans, other animals, crops, soils, oceans, and more.
  • These miniscule organisms are attracting mammoth budgets: federal agencies are committing $121 million to the NMI over the next two years, while more than 100 universities, non-profits, and companies are chipping in another $400 million.
  • There’s a tendency of read “microbiome” and automatically see “human” before it. But that’s a narcissistic view.

15) New York-based law firm hires 1st ever AI lawyer.

  • New York-based law firm BakerHostetler recently hired ROSS, `the world`s first artificially intelligent lawyer`, which is powered by Watson, an IBM-developed AI system capable of processing natural language.
  • After being asked a question, ROSS reads through the law and gathers evidence to give relevant and evidence-based answers. It also monitors the law for changes that can affect a certain case.

16) British royals launch campaign to tackle stigma of mental health.

  • British Royals Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry launched the Heads Together campaign at Queen Elizabeth Park in East London.
  • Campaign aims to work with charities "to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing".
  • Campaign will be executed the Royal Foundation in partnership with eight charities that have decades of experience in tackling stigma and raising awareness. It is the single biggest project the three British Royals have undertaken together so far.
  • Prince William will target young men at risk for suicide and Princess Kate will focus on childhood mental health.
  • Prince Harry will focus on military members and veterans and help them cope with the mental health challenges.

17) Italy Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions.

  • After decades of struggle by gay rights groups, and months of contested political negotiations, the Italian Parliament on gave final approval to a law recognizing civil unions of same-sex couples.
  • With this, Italy has become the last country in Western Europe to do so. However, the bill has yet to be assented by the Italian President.
  • More than 20 countries have legalized gay marriage. The law also makes this right available to unmarried heterosexual couples.
  • The proposed law legalize same-sex couples many of the same rights as married heterosexual couples. Partners in a civil union can apply for public housing as couples.
  • They can also inherit their partners’ pensions. Assets inheritance guidelines will be the same as for married couples.

About Italy:

Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro
President: Sergio Mattarella
Prime minister: Matteo Renzi