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International Current Affairs
International Current Affair Feb 2nd Week
Author : Sandhya
Category : International Current Affairs
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International Current Affair Feb 2nd Week

1) India and Sri Lanka sign two MoUs.
  • India and Sri Lanka have reviewed the progress made in their bilateral ties discussing various issues, including that of fishermen, a major irritant in the relations, as the two countries signed MoUs in education and health sectors.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera discussed the entire gamut of relationship during the 9th Indo-Lanka Joint Commission meeting.
  • The Joint Commission meeting which discussed the issues such as economic cooperation, trade, power and energy, technical and maritime cooperation, social, cultural and educational matters, science and technology, defence cooperation, health, civil aviation, tourism and people-to-people contact.
Two MoUs:
  1. One on renovating 27 schools in the Tamil-dominated Northern province and the other on building a surgical ward and supplying medical equipment to the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital in the East.
  2. Sri Lanka also proposed partnership in setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Trincomalee and increase cooperation in aviation sector. Wickremesinghe also proposed to make the Joint Commission meeting an annual affair. The two leaders also talked about state university linkages.
About Sri Lanka:
Capital: Colombo
Currency: Rupee
President: Maithripala Sirisena
Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
2) Sushma Swaraj inaugurated Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated the Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo. The exhibition was a part of Sangam - The Festival of India in Sri Lanka 2015-16.
  • Swaraj was visit to Sri Lanka to co-chair the 9th session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting along with her Sri Lankan counterpart, Mangala Samaraweera.
  • The Rise of Digital India exhibition showcases the initiative of Indian government to take the benefits of Information Technology to the common man.
  • The exhibition is a part of six month long Festival of India celebrations in Sri Lanka.
About Sri Lanka:
Capital: Colombo
Currency: Rupee
President: Maithripala Sirisena
Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
3) Zimbabwe declares `state of disaster` due to drought.
  • Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has declared a state of disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought, as more than a quarter of the population face food shortages.
  • An estimated 2.4 million people are now in need of food aid, more than a quarter of the population.
  • A regional drought worsened by the El Niño weather phenomenon has affected South Africa, Malawi and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe, leaving tens of thousands of cattle dead, reservoirs depleted and crops destroyed.
  • Most of the fields that should have been planted are bare. The crop that was planted is distressed and stunted. Wildlife has also not been spared.
  • In the Hwange National Park, the authorities have drilled boreholes to ensure a constant supply of drinking water for the animals.
  • The agricultural sector has been the worst affected, with tobacco and cotton farmers also bracing themselves for disaster.
 
About Zimbabwe :
Capital: Harare
Currency: Dollar
President: Robert Mugabe
4) India, China hold first joint tactical drill on border.
  • For the first time, border troops of India and China have held their first joint tactical exercise codenamed Sino-India Cooperation 2016 in Chushul-Moldo in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • This exercise is complement to the Hand-in-Hand series of India-China Joint Exercises and the recently conducted joint exercise in Sikkim.
  • Sino-India Cooperation 2016 is mainly focussed on joint actions coordinated to tackle the aspects of humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
  • It was based on a situation of a national disaster occurring on the border areas and the subsequent rescue mission coordination by joint teams of both countries.
  • Both countries to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border.
  • Indian and Chinese border troops is considered as very positive step for enhancing confidence and building relations between the two armies.
About China:
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi
President: Xi Jinping
5) Iran wants India to pay oil dues in euros.
  • Iran has asked Indian refiners such as Essar Oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to clear its past oil dues amounting to over $6 billion in euros within six months.
  • Central Bank of Iran’s vice governor Gholamali Kamyab has conveyed to Indian authorities that crude oil proceeds from now on would be in euro as Iran would not be able to undertake US dollar settlement through the US financial system.
  • Iran will be opening or re-activating euro accounts with Indian banks and would like to have the money transferred from refiners into these accounts.
  • The Persian Gulf nation is talking to State Bank of India (SBI) for the purpose and has also opened an account with IDBI.
  • The payment channels will reopen and Iran is seeking the pending $6 billion in euros.
  • The payments would be done in installments to prevent a run on the rupee with MRPL likely to be asked to clear its outstanding of close to $3 billion first.
About Iran :
Capital: Tehran
Currency: Iranian rial
President: Hassan Rouhani 

6) UN Panel proposes emission standards for flights.
  • A United Nations panel has proposed long-sought greenhouse gas emissions standards for airliners and cargo planes.
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the agreement reached by the agency’s environmental panel requires new aircraft designs meet the standards beginning in 2020, and that designs already in production comply by 2023.
  • The standard must still be adopted by the agency’s 36-nation governing council, but substantive changes aren’t expected.
  • The standards would require an average 4 per cent reduction in fuel consumption during the cruise phase of flight starting in 2028.
  • However, planes burn the most fuel during takeoffs and landings, while cruising at high altitudes is already the most fuel-efficient period.
  • The agreement is the first of two important opportunities to reduce carbon emissions from aviation.
7) US President unveils Cyber Security National action plan.
  • United States President Barack Obama has unveiled a cyber-security national action plan to boost security awareness amid of growing risks from new technologies.
  • Under this action plan, President Obama in his budget request has asked for 19 billion US dollars for cyber-security efforts.
  • The action plan was unveiled on eve of Safer Internet Day designated by governments and technology firms to boost awareness on cybersecurity issues.
About Action Plan:
  1. The plan seeks to address both short-term and long-term threats, with the goal of providing every American a basic level of online security.
  2. Obama issued an executive order creating a 12-member Cybersecurity Commission to make recommendations to both the public and private sectors.
  3. The plan also called for a new federal chief information security officer to direct cybersecurity across the federal government.
  4. Step up efforts with the help of private sector to help consumers improve online security, in part by adding new protection to services requiring passwords.
  5. Launching National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign calling for "moving beyond just passwords and adding an extra layer of security``, such as biometric identification or multi-factor authentication using a secure code.

 

8) Obama administration proposes $860 million in aid for Pakistan.
  • The Obama administration has proposed USD 860 million in aid for Pakistan, including USD 265 million for military hardware.
  • It would help the country fight terrorists, secure nuclear weapons and improve ties with India.
  • Under the economic support fund (ESF) of the overseas contingency operations (OCO), the state department has proposed USD 400 million to Pakistan.
  • Proposing USD 265 million under foreign military funding (FMF) - which mainly means providing military hardware, the state department said given the transition in Afghanistan and continued terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
  • It is essential to Pakistan’s efforts to increase stability on its western border and within the country.
9) UAE’s ADNOC to store crude oil in India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
  • The UAE’s national oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil (ADNOC) Company has agreed to store crude oil in India’s maiden Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs) storage.
  • It will be first of its kind deal in which India has partner with other country for storing crude oil in the SPR storage for emergency purpose.
  • The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will store crude oil in India’s 1.5 million tonnes-Mangalore strategic petroleum reserve using it as a wholesale storage capacity.
  • India, which is 79 per cent dependent on imports to meet its crude oil needs, is building underground storage facilities at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Mangalore and Padur in Karnataka.
Key points:
  1. UAE has agreed to give two-third of the oil to it for free for this purpose. Presently India imports upto 8 per cent of crude oil from UAE.
  2. ADNOC is keen on taking half of the 1.5 million tonnes Mangalore SPR facility. It will stock 6 million barrels or 0.75 million tons of crude oil in one compartment of this facility.
  3. Of this, 0.5 million tons of stored crude oil will belong to India and it can use it at the time of emergencies.
10) US, Cuba to resume direct flights after more than 50 years.
  • The United States and Cuba will sign a bilateral agreement to restore regular flights between the two countries after more than half a century.
  • Up to 20 direct flights daily will be permitted from the US to Havana, and 10 more to another nine international airports in Cuba.
  • Under the new agreement, airlines in the two countries can now strike deals in such areas as code-sharing and aircraft leasing.
  • The memorandum of understanding will be signed in Havana by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and his Cuban counterpart, Adel Yzquierdo.
  • The accord is part of the process currently underway to restore relations between the US and Cuba.
  • Commercial flights between Cuba and the United States were cancelled 53 years ago but since the mid-1970s authorized charter flights have been allowed under certain conditions.
11) EU nations, Turkey set to meet on migration crisis.
  • France, Germany, other EU nations and Turkey are expected to meet before an EU summit in Brussels.
  • To discuss the migration crisis that is worsening due to a growing number of people fleeing air strikes in Syria.
  • An assault by Russian-backed Syrian government forces around the city of Aleppo has sent more than 30,000 people to the Turkish border and tens of thousands more could be on the move, hoping eventually to reach Europe.
  • The pre-summit-meeting will take place in the Austrian EU.
  • An EU diplomat, adding that around 11 countries including France and Germany would meet Turkey`s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
  • All 28 EU leaders are scheduled to discuss their latest response to the migration crisis at the summit in Brussels. 

 

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