International Current Affairs
International Current Affairs August 4th Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) PM Modi, President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate renovated Stor Palace in Kabul.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani via video conferencing from New Delhi to inaugurate the renovated Stor Palace in Kabul.
  • During the video conference, Prime Minister Modi assured that India`s 1.25 billion citizens would always be on Afghanistan`s side in its quest to establish regional peace, security and stability.
  • The Stor Palace was built during the reign of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1880. It underwent a series of renovations till 1965 when most of the functions were shifted to another building. The building is expected to regain its stature with the restoration process now completed.
2) New Nepal PM to visit India next month.
  • Nepal`s new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal `Prachanda` will embark on a three-day official visit to India.
  • This will be Prachanda`s first foreign visit after assuming office earlier this month. 
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister BimalendraNidhi, who was on a visit to India as Prachanda`s special envoy, had discussed with Indian officials regarding the visit, according to Indian embassy sources in Kathmandu.
3) India, Germany sign pact on vocational training.
  • India and Germany has signed an agreement that aims to foster conditions that will help create and improve workplace-based vocational training in India`s industrial clusters.
  • Under the pact, German technical assistance will be used to enhance industry institute partnerships between Indian and German organizations.
  • Build capacity of local training institutions and foster industry linkages which will help adapt elements of the German dual system into the Indian context.
4) US announces 138 million dollar aid to South Sudan.
  • United States has announced 138 million dollar new aid to South Sudan, the aid is meant for food, water, and medicine for those in need.
  • 4,000 troop Regional Protection Force in South Sudan as mandated by the UN Security Council.
  • The UN force is being deployed after clashes in South Sudan’s capital Juba last month. More than 300 people died in the clashes and forced the opposition leader Riek Machar to flee the country.
  • US will donate 29 million dollar to the UN refugee agency for the safe and voluntary return of Somali refugees in Kenya.


5) U.S. Postal Service to issue Diwali stamp.

  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced to commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with the launch of forever stamp.
  • The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony of the Forever Stamp will take place at the Consulate General of India, New York. The launch of this stamp is an important recognition for more than 3 million Indian-Americans who celebrate Diwali every year in US.
  • The Diwali stamp will be issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp will also be equal in value to the current First Class Mail 1-ounce price.
  • The stamp design is a photograph featuring a traditional diya oil lamp beautifully lit, sitting on a sparkling gold background.
6) Dubai set to open world’s largest indoor theme park.
  • The world’s largest indoor theme park is set to open its doors in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • The park will feature Marvel-themed thrill rides and a dinosaur park that brings the pre-historic animals back to life in the Middle Eastern desert.
  • Covering an area that spans over 1.5 million square feet, IMG Worlds of Adventure features four zones - Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley - Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard - and can accommodate up to 30,000 visitors a day. Developers claim that they anticipate seeing 4.5 million guests in its first year.
  • IMG Worlds of Adventure is located just 20 minutes from each of Dubai’s international airports. Tickets cost AED 300 for adults (about $81) and AED 250 ($69) for children.
7) Turkey Launches Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria. 
  • The Turkish military launched a cross-border operation on named "Euphrates Shield" along with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria`s northern border city of Jarablus to clear the area from the Daesh terror organization.
  • The main objective for the operation, however, was to counter recent advances of US-backed Syrian Kurds along the Turkish border.
  • Turkish special forces entered Jarablus by land along with aerial support from Turkish F-16 jets.
  • Turkish forces also used intense artillery fire as well as tanks in cross-border attacks against Daesh elements in Jarablus.
  • The operation is aimed at clearing the Turkish borders of terrorist groups, helping to enhance border security and supporting the territorial integrity of Syria.
8) India, US innovation forum to be launched.
  • In a bid to facilitate the movement of innovation from discovery to commercialisation, a forum to forge new partnerships between India and the US will be held in New Delhi 
  • The Innovation Forum will be formally launched in New Delhi on the sidelines of the second annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the two countries.
  • The Innovation Forum will facilitate the movement of innovation from discovery to commercialisation by focusing on the complex interplay of relationships between academic researchers, small businesses, the investor community, multinational companies, and governments that are central players in an innovation ecosystem. 
  • The two countries agreed to facilitate an innovation forum in 2016, a platform for the US and Indian entrepreneurs to share best practices in promoting a culture of innovation and the creation of sister innovation hubs. 

9) World`s first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore. 

  • The world’s first self-driving taxi service was launched in Singapore. This launch is significant as it offer technology demonstration that could revolutionize the future transport industry.
  • The self-driving taxi service was launched Singapore based nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. With this nuTonomy became entity in the world first to offer self-driving taxi rides to the public.
  • The trial was given the approval of the Singapore government, which has long sought to turn the city-state into a hub for disruptive technology through firms like nuTonomy.
  • NuTonomy has started this service with small fleet of six cars. It includes modified versions of Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car.
  • Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging), a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar that constantly spins on the roof.
  • During the trail phase, these vehicles have a computer engineer and backup human driver in case anything goes wrong.
10) British PM to trigger EU pull-out `without parliament vote`.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to trigger Britain`s withdrawal from the European Union without a vote in parliament beforehand.
  • The Daily Telegraph report was speculation but added that May was ``committed to delivering on the verdict the public gave`` in the June referendum, when 52 percent voted for Britain to leave the EU.
  • May’s government already faces a legal challenge to prevent it beginning the process of leaving the EU without an act of parliament.
  • Most members of parliament’s lower House of Commons, including May, campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU.
  • Once Article 50 is triggered, it would start a two-year countdown to Britain’s exit from the European Union.
11) Tunisia`s new government wins parliamentary approval.
  • Tunisia`s new government has won a confidence vote, almost a month after the last government was dismissed.
  • Prime Minister-designate Youssef Chahed`s unity government was backed by parliament with 167 votes in favour, 22 against and five abstentions.
  • Prime Minister Youssef Chahed warned in Parliament an austerity programme will be inevitable with thousands of public sector job cuts and new taxes if Tunisia does not overcome its economic difficulties.
  • Chahed`s proposal of public-sector job cuts and tax rises was backed by 167 of the Parliament`s 217 members. Interestingly, Chahed is Tunisia`s youngest Prime Minister since the country became independent in 1956.
12) The 2016 Mountain Echoes literary festival. 
  • ``Mountain Echoes``, the seventh edition of Bhutan’s literary festival, will focus on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the first ruler to unite it as a single nation.
  • This year the festival will announce the inaugural edition of ``Bonfire Tales``: A cultural journey that travels via motorcycle to the Phobjikha valley in the black mountains of Bhutan and then onto the warm climes of Punakha.
  • According to the ECIU (Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit), Bhutan’s forests absorb three times more CO2 emissions than its society creates, making it carbon negative.
13) India, US targeting trade worth $500 billion.
  • Positioned as a major investment destination to the world, India is targeting to increase its bilateral trade with the US to $500 billion from current levels of over $100 billion. 
  • According to a recent joint report by PwC and Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), bilateral relations between India and the US have been cemented further in the last two years with increased issuance of visas, visits by dignitaries, initiatives to combat terrorism, as well as trade.
  • 10 sectors like aerospace and defence, banking, financial services and insurance, chemicals, dedicated freight corridors, energy and infrastructure have immense potential not just for domestic growth, but also for strengthening India`s position as a global business hub.
  • US is the second largest trading partner of India with a growth potential of bilateral trade increasing to US $500 billion in the near future.
14) China launches state-owned aircraft engine maker.
  • China has set up a state-owned aircraft engine maker with registered capital of 50 billion yuan ($7.50 billion), in the latest bid to develop home-grown, high-tech capacities to compete in international markets.
  • The government has been overhauling its state-owned sector to push Chinese products and services up the value chain. Under that drive, it has prioritised aircraft engines, high-speed rail and nuclear power as areas it wants China to excel.
  • The new company called China Aero-Engine Group and with 96,000 employees, will focus on designing, manufacturing and testing of aircraft engines.
  • Earlier, Chinese aircraft used engines made by Rolls-Royce among others. This reportedly is aimed at developing competitive Chinese products and services for international markets. 
15) Russia lifts ban on charter flights to Turkey.
  • Russia has signed a decree lifting restrictions on charter flights to Turkey after an eight-month ban introduced due to tensions between the two countries arising from the downing of a Russian warplane by Ankara in 2015.
  • Russian government has proposed that airlines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of charter flights between Russia and Turkey.
  • Russia has taken a series of restrictive measures against Turkey from 2016, including bans on the import of Turkish foodstuffs, charter flights in both directions, and the visa-free travel regime between them.
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has since apologised for the incident and the leaders of the two countries have reportedly started restoring bilateral ties.