International Current Affairs
International Current Affair April 3rd Week
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) Investing in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to fourfold return - UN report.
  • Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year, and every one dollar invested in scaling up treatment leads to a return of four dollars in better health and ability to work, according to a new study led by the United Nations health agency.
  • The study for the first time estimates the health and economic benefits of investing in treatment of the most common forms of mental illness globally.
  • Common mental disorders are increasing worldwide. Between 1990-2013, the number of people suffering from depression or anxiety increased by nearly 50 per cent, from 416 million to 615 million. Close to 10 per cent of the world’s population is affected and mental disorders account for 30 per cent of the global non-fatal disease burden.
  • A series of events, being co-hosted by the World Bank and WHO as part of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC, is bringing ministers of finance, development agencies, academic experts and practitioners together to discuss how to put mental health at the centre of the health and development agenda globally and in countries. Aim of the meeting is to increase investments in mental health: investments by governments, development agencies and civil society.
2) French PM calls for ban on headscarves in universities.
  • The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has sparked controversy by suggesting the Muslim headscarf should be banned in universities.
  • Citing secular traditions, France has already banned the face-covering Muslim veil and forbids headscarves and other religious symbols in schools and public buildings.
  • Since the Paris attacks in November, the Socialist government has led a hard line on security, surveillance and justice issues.
3) EU approves passenger data-sharing.
  • The European Parliament voted to force airlines to share passenger information with EU countries to help in detecting jihadists, ending five years of debate that intensified after the Paris and Brussels attacks.
  • The Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg overwhelmingly adopted the Passenger Name Record (PNR) system after resolving privacy concerns raised after the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU, first proposed the law in 2011.
  • The legislation, which also aims to the boost the fight against organized crime.
  • Data sharing will allow security services easier access to information about people flying into and out of Europe.
  • The law requires airlines to give European security services basic information about all travelers flying into and out of the EU, including names, email addresses and phone numbers, itinerary, baggage, how they paid for their tickets and passport data.
4) Twin quakes kills 29 in south Japan.
  • In south western Japan two powerful earthquakes hit a day apart shook, killing at least 29 people.
  • Trapping many others beneath flattened homes and sending thousands of residents to seek refuge in gymnasiums and hotel lobbies.
  • Nearly 200,000 homes were without electricity. Drinking water systems had also failed in the area.
  • Magnitude-7.3 quake that shook the Kumamoto region on the south-western island of Kyushu. A series of aftershocks ensued, including a magnitude-5.4 Quakes.
5) N. Korean missile launch failed.
  • North Korea attempted to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile at the country`s east coast. No official announcement had been made about the test within the country.
  • North Korea missile launch meant to celebrate the birthday of the country’s founder has apparently failed.
  • The test followed widespread reports that the North was preparing for the first-ever flight of its mobile medium-range Musudan missile, believed to be capable of striking US bases in the Pacific island of Guam.
  • The U.S and South Korean officials provided few details, including the type of missile. 
6) Government to allow Pakistani Hindus to buy property, open bank accounts.
  • People belonging to minority communities of Pakistan, staying in India on a Long Term Visa, will soon be allowed to buy property, open bank accounts and get PAN and Aadhaar cards.
  • Indian government is planning to roll out special facilities for them.
  • Indian government is also planning reduction in fees for registration as citizens of India from Rs. 15,000 to as low as Rs. 100.
  • The exact number of minority refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan living in India is not known, according to rough official estimates around two lakh people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs.
  • The facilities include permitting opening of bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India subject to certain conditions, permission for purchase of dwelling unit for self-occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment without prior approval of RBI subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.
  • Issue of driving license, PAN and Aadhaar cards, permission to take up self-employment or for doing business which is considered safe from security point of view, dispensing with the requirement of personal appearance before the Foreigners Registration Officer for registration are a few other facilities being planned.
  • Allowing free movement within the State/ UT where they are staying instead of restricting their movement within the place of stay, allowing free movement to those living in the National Capital Region (NCR), simplifying the procedure for visit to a place in any other State/ UT are being proposed.
7) WADA revoked accreditation of Moscow Antidoping Center.
  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revoked the accreditation of the Moscow Antidoping Center in Russia due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and the related Technical Documents.
  • The Laboratory was suspended by WADA on November 2015 following a key recommendation in the WADA Independent Commission Report. Since that date, the Laboratory has been prohibited from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples.
  • The revocation means the lab will continue to be prevented from carrying out the testing of doping control samples on behalf of Wada or any testing authority.
  • The revocation was accepted by the Laboratory and will enter into force immediately and means that the Laboratory will continue to be prevented from carrying out the testing of doping control samples on behalf of WADA or any testing authority.
About WADA :
  1. The World Anti-Doping Agency`s mission is to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport.
  2. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world.
  3. Key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti Doping Code.
Head Quarters: Montreal, Canada.
8) Ecuador earthquake: Death toll reaches more than 230.
  • An earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.8 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) occurred in Ecuador.
  • Rescuers in Ecuador raced to dig out people trapped under the rubble of homes and hotels, after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 235.
  • The quake, which struck about 170 km northwest of Quito, lasted about a minute and was felt across Ecuador, northern Peru and southern Colombia.
About Ecuador :
  • Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast.
Capital: Quito
Currency: United States Dollar
Official language: Spanish
Continent: South America
9) Iran unveils Russian S-300 missile system parts at army parade.
  • Iran used its annual Army Day parade to showcase parts of a long-awaited air defence system ordered from Russia, a move likely to irk critics of the arms deal.
  • Iran insists the system is necessary to defend itself from threats of attack, including possible bombing of its nuclear facilities, and the S-300 would allow early detection of approaching aircraft.
  • The S-300 system has been on order since 2007 but Russia postponed the sale three years later after the UN Security Council passed a resolution relating to Iran’s nuclear programme.
About Iran :
Capital: Tehran
Currency: Iranian rial
President: Hassan Rouhani

Official language: Persian 

10) International Defence Expo opens in Malaysia.
  • Over 1,000 defence industries players, including big names like Airbus and BAE Systems, are participating in the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • In the exhibition 1,200 companies from 60 countries to display static equipment of weapons and defence technology, weaponry systems and generic security solutions in the four-day exhibition.
  • DSA is now a premier platform for industry players to promote products, exchange ideas and technologies, forge partnerships and embark on strategic and synergistic collaborations.
  • 29 countries taking part in the exhibition in the form of group pavilion including Australian, China, Britain and the US.
  • The biggest foreign pavilion for DSA 2016 will be Turkey, which has more than 25 companies participating.
About Malaysia :
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Prime minister: Najib Razak
Currency: Malaysian ringgit.
11) Brazil`s lower house votes for Dilma Rousseff`s impeachment.
  • Brazilian legislators have voted in favour of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff.
  • Tens of thousands of pro and anti-impeachment protesters gathered in the capital Brasilia and other cities to watch the dramatic vote, which was shown live on national television.
  • Ms. Rousseff is accused of using accounting tricks in managing the federal budget to maintain spending and shore up support.
  • The impeachment motion will next go to the country`s Senate. If a majority approves it there, Rousseff will have to step down for 180 days to defend herself in an impeachment trial.
About Brazil :
Capital: Brasília
President: Dilma Rousseff
Currency: Brazilian real
12) World Bank Group, UNICEF urge greater investment in early childhood development.
  • World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake jointly urged global and national leaders to step up and accelerate action and investments in nutrition and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programmes.
  • Early childhood development programmes are a critical foundation for equitable development and economic growth.
  • The two organizations announced the establishment of a new alliance that aims to make ECD a global policy, programming and public spending priority, to give all young children access to quality services that improve their health, nutrition, learning ability and emotional well-being.
  • Globally, millions of children under the age of five are at risk of never reaching their full developmental potential.
13) Sri Lanka to sign MoU with India and Japan for trilateral scientific collaboration.
  • Sri Lankan university will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan and India on trilateral collaboration in science and technology.
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura will sign with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science (AIST) and Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) of Japan and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of Ministry of Science & Technology, India.
  • This initiative is the result of the long lasting academic collaborations of Prof. Ranil de Silva with Dr. Sunil Kaul, Chief Senior Research Scientist, AIST, which had paved the way towards the advancement in science and technology between Japan, India and Sri Lanka.
14) WADA suspends the accreditation of the Beijing Laboratory.
  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended the accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Beijing, China from carrying out WADA-related testing anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples.
  • The suspension of up to four months takes effect immediately, although the laboratory has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
  • During the period of suspension, samples are required to be transported securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory.
  • During the period of suspension, the laboratory is required to take five remedial steps highlighted by the Disciplinary Committee in its recommendation.
  • If the Beijing laboratory satisfies the Disciplinary Committee in meeting these requirements, the laboratory may apply for reinstatement prior to the expiry of the four month suspension period.
15) Ukraine bans Russian movies.
  • Ukraine has banned Russian films, including TV dramas and documentaries, made since 1 January 2014.
  • The ban follows other restrictive measures imposed by Russia and Ukraine on each other since Russia`s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
  • Ukraine has blacklisted 83 cultural figures, most of them Russian, whom it considers a national security threat.
  • President Petro Poroshenko signed the bill, which also bans all movies produced by Russian companies and Russian citizens after 1991 if they ``glorify the work of government bodies`` of Russia.
  • Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine not just in the east and millions of Ukrainians have ethnic Russian relatives.
16) India, France launch $1 trillion Potential Solar Programme.
  • India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion potential to help developing countries harness fully their solar resources for a clean energy under the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal and French Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, in charge of International Relations on Climate and President of COP21 Segolene Royal co-chaired a ministerial side event on International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the United Nations.
  • The solar finance programme that aims to lower the cost of finance and facilitate the flow of more than $1 trillion investment to members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • The ministers launched the `Affordable finance at scale` and `Scaling solar applications for agricultural use` programmes during the event held as 175 nations were signing the Paris climate change agreement in the UN General Assembly hall at a ceremony hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA) :
  1. The ISA, which was launched at the Paris Climate Change Summit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, many of which have at least 300 days of sunshine, and share common challenges and opportunities.
  2. During France President Francois Hollande visit to India in January, the two leaders laid the foundation stone for the ISA headquarters in Gurgaon.
About France :
Capital: Paris
President: Francois Hollande
Prime minister: Manuel Valls
Currencies: Euro.
17) Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT).
  • INS Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, along with a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, are participating in the 22nd Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT), in the Andaman Sea.
  • The 22nd edition of CORPAT would bolster the already strong bilateral relationship between the two nations and contribute significantly to enhancing maritime security in the region.
  • Maritime interaction between India and Thailand has been growing steadily with frequent port visits, participation in multilateral exercises and training exchanges.
  • The two navies have been carrying out CORPATs along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2005, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
  • The 22nd edition of the CORPAT would include participation of one warship and one Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both sides with the Closing Ceremony being held at Port Blair, Headquarters Andaman and Nicobar Command (HQANC).
About Thailand :
Capital: Bangkok
Prime minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha

Currency: Thai baht