International Current Affairs
International Current Affairs April 1st Week
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) India, US sign MoU for setting up LIGO project.
  • India has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States for setting up Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in India.
  • LIGO play significant role in carrying forward frontline research on various aspects of gravitational wave astronomy.
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
  • Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary Sekhar Basu and the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) security France Cordova signed the MoU.
  • The Union Cabinet had approved Rs. 1200 crores for the LIGO India project.
  • It will be third LIGO interferometer in the world and it is expected to be functional by 2023.
2) US, Saudis Use Sanctions to Break Up Terrorist Fundraising Networks.
  • The US and Saudi Arabia imposed sanctions jointly on four individuals and two organisations, aiming to disrupt terrorism fund raising operations in South Asia and the Middle East.
  • The joint action targeted James Alexander McLintock and his Pakistan-based Al-Rahmah Welfare Organisation, Abdul Aziz Nuristani and his Pakistan-based Jamia Asariya Madrassa.
  • These organisations and individuals provide money for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other Afghan extremist groups, and the sanctioned have ties across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
  • McLintock and his organisation have provided funding to extremists under the false guise of helping orphans.
3) Greece passes law allowing migrants` return to Turkey.
  • The Greek parliament has passed a law allowing migrants arriving in the country to be returned to Turkey.
  • It aims to end the uncontrolled influx of refugees and other migrants after more than one million people crossed into Europe
  • Both Greece and Turkey had to amend their legislation to permit the start of the scheme – denounced by the U.N. refugee agency and rights groups for lacking legal safeguards – to send back all migrants who reached Greece.
  • The legislation does not explicitly designate Turkey as a ``safe third country`` – a formula to make any mass returns legally sound.
  • The European Commission sees this as not essential, provided rules are in place to allow people to be sent back to a ``safe third country`` or a ``safe first country of asylum``, with each case examined individually.


4) India, Saudi Arabia sign agreements to counter threat of cross-border terrorism.
  • India-Saudi Arabia inked Five MOUs in trade and defence including terrorism financing and money laundering.
  • The agreements were signed during the two day official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
  • A memorandum of understanding was signed between the financial intelligence units of the two countries on cooperation in the exchange of intelligence related to money laundering.
  • During his visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid of Kerala to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
About Five agreements :
Agreement on Labour Co-operation: It was singed for recruitment of general category workers between the Ministry of Labour, Saudi Arabia and Ministry of External Affairs, India.
Technical Cooperation Program: It was signed between Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Executive Program for Cooperation in the Field of Handicrafts: It was signed between Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and Export Promotion Council for Handicraft (EPCH).
MoU in the Exchange of Intelligence related to Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Related Crimes: It was signed between Financial Intelligence Unit of India and Saudi Arabia concerning Cooperation.
Framework for Investment Promotion Cooperation: It was signed between Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Invest India.
5) China plans a New Silk Road tos export electricity.
  • One Belt, One Road initiative, China is positioning itself as a formidable energy exporter, targeting markets that span from Germany to India along the New Silk Road.
  • Two factors are driving Beijing’s ambitions of emerging as a regional electric supply hub.
  • First, China is already a surplus power producer following a decade of continuous investments at home in all forms of energy.
  • Second, China has mastered ultra–high voltage (UHV) technology, which has allowed State Grid, China’s state-owned power behemoth, to transmit electricity from production centres in West in places such as Xinjiang - to coastal industrial centres in the faraway east.
  • Xinjiang in western China as the hub, China has the proven technological heft to transmit electricity as far as Germany.
6) First Syrian refugees arrive in Germany under EU-Turkey deal.
  • The first Syrians arrived in Germany from Istanbul under a controversial European Union-Turkey migrant pact.
  • The 32 asylum seekers flew into the northern city of Hanover on two separate flights and were to be taken to a shelter about 140 km away.
  • Two Turkish boats hired by EU border agency Frontex carried 131 refugees accompanied by European Union officials from Lesbos to Turkey’s western Izmir Province.
  • The deal between EU and Turkey requires that Ankara will take back refugees who crossed into Europe illegally from Turkish soil.
  • In exchange, the EU has promised to provide Turkey with more financial aid, visa-free travel for its citizens, and to restart negotiations on EU membership. 
7) Myanmar Parliament gives PM like role to Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Myanmar`s Parliament has passed a bill that gives Aung San Suu Kyi a role similar to that of Prime Minister.
  • The Lower House passed the bill to create the post of state counsellor, which now requires only presidential approval to become law.
  • The bill has gone through the Upper House and now will be sent to the President Htin Kyaw for the approval.
  • Unelected military representatives holding a quarter of Parliamentary seats boycotted the vote, calling the bill unconstitutional.
  • Suu Kyi`s party won elections but she is not allowed to be president.
  • The new democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government of Myanmar thinks that the clause was written specifically to prevent 70-year-old Nobel laureate Suu Kyi from taking office.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is to head four cabinet posts including foreign affairs, president’s office, education, and energy ministries.
8) Twenty million people in Bangladesh drinking water contaminated with arsenic.
  • The Bangladesh government is failing to adequately respond to naturally occurring arsenic in drinking water across large areas of rural Bangladesh, By the report of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
  • Approximately 20 years after initially coming to international attention, an estimated 20 million people in Bangladesh mostly rural poor people still drink water contaminated over the national standard.
  • This kills an estimated 43,000 Bangladeshis every year, mostly in poor rural areas.
  • The Bangladesh Government drilled millions of shallow tube wells to provide villagers with clean water, not realising that the soil was heavily laced with naturally occurring arsenic.
  • Bangladesh has been building deep tube wells to source water from beneath the arsenic-tainted soil.
  • Chronic exposure to arsenic is linked with cancers of the liver, kidney, bladder and skin, as well as heart disease, but many victims in Bangladesh had no access to health care.