International Current Affairs
International Current affairs May 3rd Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Emergency Lessons` campaign highlights importance of education for children in conflict and disaster zones.

  • The European Union and UNICEF launched ``Emergency Lessons``, a new campaign to highlight the importance of education for children affected by emergencies.
  • The social media-driven public awareness campaign aims to reach 20 million Europeans, especially those 25 and under, in Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom and inspire them to raise their voices on behalf of millions of children and adolescents whose education has been interrupted by emergencies.
  • The Emergency Lessons campaign draws on the real-life experiences of children living through emergencies in countries such as Guinea, Iraq, Nepal and Ukraine.
  • Nearly one in four of the world’s school-aged children – 462 million – now lives in 35 countries affected by crises, including an estimated 75 million children who are in desperate need of educational support.
  • The campaign also celebrates the other benefits of going to school – the friends made, the teachers who support children through trauma, the stability found in the routine of attending classes.


Headquarters: New York, United States
CEO: Anthony Lake

Parent organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council

Founded: December 11, 1946
About European Union

Headquarters: City of Brussels, Belgium

Member states: 28 states

2) U.S. eases sanctions on Myanmar in bid to promote reforms.

  • The United States eased some sanctions on Myanmar to support ongoing political reforms, but maintained most of its economic restrictions.
  • US easing sanctions to encourage the "historic" progress in Myanmar, including the formation of the country`s first democratically elected government in more than 50 years.
  • The moves included removing Myanmar state-owned banks from a U.S. blacklist and the lifting of sanctions against seven key state-owned timber and mining companies.
  • However, most restrictions on trade and investment with Myanmar`s still-powerful army remained in place.
  • Despite the sanctions lifting, Washington has deep concerns about alleged human rights violations in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, particularly violence against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

About Myanmar:

Capital: Naypyidaw
President: Htin Kyaw
Currency: Burmese kyat

3) US Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

  • The U.S. Senate passed legislation that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia`s government for damages, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.
  • The "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act``, or JASTA, passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote. It must next be taken up by the US House of Representatives, where no vote has yet been scheduled.
  • The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks, strongly object to the bill. They announced that they might sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets in retaliation if it became law.

About United States of America:

Capital: Washington, D.C
President: Barack Obama
Currency: United States dollar

4) India and Slovenia have signed Protocol amending the India-Slovenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention.

  • India and Slovenia have signed a Protocol amending the existing Convention and Protocol between the two countries for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income in Ljubljana.
  • The Protocol was signed by Mr. Sarvajit Chakravarti, Ambassador of India to Slovenia on behalf of India and Mr. Dusan Mramor, the Slovenian Minister of Finance on behalf of Slovenia.
  • The Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.

About Slovenia:

Capital: Ljubljana
Currency: Euro
Prime minister: Miro Cerar
President: Borut Pahor

5) India rushes two naval ships and C-17 aircraft to cyclone-hit Sri Lanka.

  • India is extending a helping hand to cyclone-hit Sri Lanka which is battling torrential rains and landslides which have caused significant devastation and loss of life.
  • India sends two naval ships and a C-17 aircraft with relief material like medicines and tents along with teams of rescue experts to Sri Lanka which has been severely battered by tropical cyclone Roanu.
  • Naval off Shore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) INS Sunayna and survey vessel INS Sutlej are being sent to Colombo coast from Southern Naval Command in Kochi.
  • The cyclone has wreaked havoc along Sri Lankan coast. 63 people have been killed and 134 were missing following massive landslides and floods in Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya areas.
  • Over 300,000 people are housed in relief camps. 354 homes have been totally destroyed.
  • The cyclone has also put coastal states in India on high alert.

About Sri Lanka:

Capital: Colombo
Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
President: Maithripala Sirisena
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee

8) Killing of bulls is banned at Toro de la Vega festival in Spain.

  • A bull-lancing festival known as "Toro de la Vega" (Bull of the Plain) which has spurred controversy in Spain will take place as usual in September but participants will no longer be allowed to kill the bull, Spanish authorities ruled.
  • The centuries-old event about 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of Madrid has drawn increasing protests in recent years, with animal rights activists denouncing it as cruel and calling for a ban.
  • Government looks set to end bull killing at the region`s annual Toro de la Vega festival in Tordesillas, where men on horseback chase down a bull and spear it in front of onlookers.
  • A survey conducted by animal protection charity Humane Society International (HSI) showed 74 per cent of 16 to 65-year-olds in the country want the bloody `fiesta` to end.
  • The Toro de la Vega is one of thousands of violent fiestas which cause animals suffering and distress every year.

About Spain:

Capital: Madrid
Prime minister: Mariano Rajoy
Currency: Euro

9) US House of Representatives passes bill for greater defence ties with India.

  • The U.S House of Representatives has passed amendments to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017, seeking to enhance the country’s defence cooperation with India.
  • Amendment would "seek to promote greater defence trade and encourage additional military cooperation between the United States and India.
  • The bipartisan move of the U.S Congress seeks to bring India at par with NATO allies for technology and equipment sale.
  • Once signed into law by the president, these provisions will liberalise the sale of a wide range of technologies to India, bypassing bureaucratic and legislative approvals.
  • Open a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the U.S.-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  • A similar kind of bill named US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act is under the consideration in the US Senate as well.

About United States of America:

Capital: Washington, D.C
President: Barack Obama
Currency: United States dollar

10) First metro line to the sea opens in Los Angeles.

  • The USD 1.5 billion, 6.6-mile Expo Line extension from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica marks the return of commuter train service to the sea following a six-decade gap in rail operations.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among hundreds on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Santa Monica, arriving on the train platform with a surfboard.
  • The ride from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica will take about 50 minutes.
  • The new line marks the first time since the 1950s when the city`s electric streetcars stopped operating that Santa Monica has been accessible by rail.


11) India, Oman sign four bilateral agreements on defence cooperation.

  • India and Oman signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on defence cooperation in Muscat.
  • MoU signed during the visit of Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Oman.
  • The two sides inked the agreements after Mr. Parrikar held bilateral talks with his Oman`s counterpart Bader Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs.
  • MOU on Defence Cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of Sultanate of Oman and Ministry of Defence of India.
  • MOU on Maritime Issues was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Sultanate of Oman.
  • MOU in the field of Marine Crime Prevention at Sea was signed between the Indian Coast Guard and the Royal Oman Police (Coast Guard).
  • Protocol on Flight Safety information Exchange was signed between Royal Air Force of Oman and the Indian Air Force.
  • Both sides noted that defence cooperation is a key facet of their bilateral strategic partnership, which is based on historical ties as well as mutual trust and shared interests.

About Oman:

Capital: Muscat
Currency: Omani rial
Sultan: Qaboos bin Said al Said
Deputy Prime Minister: Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said

12) Obama lifts U.S. arms ban on Vietnam.

  • U.S President Barack Obama announced that the United States is fully lifting a decades-long ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam.
  • Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and U.S. President Obama take part in a joint press conference at the International Convention Center in Hanoi.
  • The embargo on lethal military equipment had been partially lifted in 2014; now it will be raised fully.
  • It was the desire to continue normalizing relations between the United States and Vietnam and to do away with a ban "based on ideological division between our two countries.

About Vietnam:

Capital: Hanoi
Prime minister: Nguy?n Xuân Phúc
President: Tran Dai Quang
Currency: Vietnamese dong

13) India pledges $1 million for Afghan school.

  • India has signed a pact to grant assistance worth $1 million over the next 10 years to a Habibia School in Kabul ,Afghanistan.
  • The funds will be used for modernization, civil repairs and annual maintenance as well as teachers` training.
  • India has pledged the amount as a part of its support to the war-torn country`s education sector.
  • The school is one of the largest and most reputed schools in Afghanistan. It was established in 1904 by King Habibullah. An Indian, Dr Abdul Ghani, was the school`s first principal.

About Afghanistan:

Capital: Kabul
President: Ashraf Ghani
Currency: Afghan afghani

14) Government bars Indians from travelling to Libya.

  • India has banned its nationals from travelling to Libya, irrespective of the purpose of the visit, in view of the security situation in the North African country.
  • Asking Indian nationals for compliance, the External Affairs ministry announced the travel ban is effective from 3 May, 2016 till further orders.
  • The MEA`s announcement came a day after reports of a Libyan former minister being killed in clashes between unity government forces and fighters of the ISIS group in Sirte. Libya is witnessing increased violence due to clashes between them.

About Libya:

Capital: Tripoli
Prime minister: Fayez al-Sarraj
Currency: Libyan dinar

15) India, Thailand, Myanmar to be connected with a 1400 km road.

  • India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on a 1,400 kilometre long highway that will link India with Southeast Asia by land for the first time in decades, giving a boost to trade and cultural exchanges between the three countries.
  • There are 73 bridges totally in Myanmar, built more than seven decades ago were being repaired with funding from India for highway safe movement.
  • The repair work will be completed in 18 months, the highway could be opened to traffic from all three countries.
  • The negotiations are currently underway to conclude a tri-nation motor vehicle agreement for the use of the 1,400 km road that will reach Thailand at Tak, Mae Sot district.
  • The planned highway starts in the eastern region of India from Moreh to Myanmar`s Tamu city.
  • India is also preparing to negotiate a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes the 10-country grouping, on top of the current India-Asean free-trade agreement (FTA).

About Myanmar:

Capital: Naypyidaw
President: Htin Kyaw
Currency: Burmese kyat

About Thailand:

Capital: Bangkok
Prime minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Currency: Thai baht

16) Cyclone Roanu hits Bangladesh: 24 dead, thousands left home.

  • Thousands of Bangladeshis were left homeless after Cyclone Roanu battered the impoverished southern coastal region, ripping apart flimsy houses and killing at least 24 people.
  • The storm ploughed through low-lying villages in the Chittagong and Barisal regions, where residents described seeing metres-high walls of water that caught some unaware.
  • Authorities evacuated more than 500,000 people to shelters before the cyclone hit with winds of up to 88 kilometres (54 miles) per hour.
  • Across the country road networks have been disrupted after strong winds uprooted trees blocking highways. The cyclone makes Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong to suspend all of its flight operations.

About Bangladesh:

Capital: Dhaka
Prime minister: Sheikh Hasina
President: Abdul Hamid
Currency: Bangladeshi taka

17) INSV Mhadei Sails to Mauritius with an all Women Crew.

  • Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Mhadei (INSV Mhadei) sailed from Goa with an all-women crew for a voyage to Port Louis, Mauritius.
  • This would be the first open-ocean voyage of the Navy’s all-women crew of Mhadei, who are currently training to undertake a circumnavigation of the globe in 2017.
  • The crew would be undertaking this arduous voyage through rough seas and heavy weather, expected during the Monsoons, in the Arabian Sea.
  • This is a training voyage to expose the young crew to weather that would be faced by them during the circumnavigation in 2017.

About Mauritius:

Capital: Port Louis
Prime minister: Anerood Jugnauth
President: Ameenah Gurib
Currency: Mauritian rupee

18) Switzerland to open world`s longest and deepest train tunnel after 17 years.

  • Switzerland will inaugurate the opening of the world`s longest and deepest train tunnel which will reduce travel times between cities by up to a full hour.
  • The tunnel was first conceived in sketch-form in 1947 but construction began 17 years ago. It consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun.
  • The Gotthard Base Tunnel will open for the first time June 1, extending 57km in length into the bowels of the Earth 2,300 metres below the Gotthard massif in the Swiss Alps.
  • With speeds reaching up to 250km/h, the travel time from one end of the tunnel to the other will take just 20 minutes.
  • The Gotthard Base Tunnel enters into regular operation on Dec 11, 2016.