International Current Affairs
International Current Affairs September 3rd Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) WHO’s South-East Asian Regional Committee decided to set up health emergencies in the region.

  • India along with 10 other member countries of World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) South-East Asian Regional Committee has decided to set up a dedicated fund aimed at building preparedness for health emergencies in the region.
  • Decision in this regard was taken at the 69th session of WHO Regional Committee Meeting held at Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka.
  • The joint funding stream will be established under the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF).
  • The new funding stream will allow these countries to invest in infrastructure and human resources that will enhance preparedness.
  • It will help member countries better prepare for such events was seen by the countries as a key priority for the regional health agenda.
2) China, Russia hold naval drill in South China Sea.
  • China and Russia have begun a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea. The eight-day marine exercises come amid rising tensions over Chinese island-building activity in the region as well as an increasing presence of the US military.
  • The drills are bound to spark further fears over China`s expansionist claims in the region, given that the official brief for the drill includes "island seizing missions".
  • The drills are taking place in the South China Sea, south of Guangdong Province. Called the `Joint Sea 2016`. The drills, the fifth such exercise between the Chinese and Russian navies.
  • China claimed that the "routine" drills, which are expected to eight days, are only aimed at strengthening cooperation. 
  • This comes amid tensions in the contested waters after a UN court ruled that China does not have "historic rights" over the region.
3) China has longest bullet train network.
  • China’s high-speed railway has completed over 20,000 kms of track network in the country, becoming the world’s longest bullet train network.
  • A high-speed railway linking Zhengzhou in China’s central Henan Province with Xuzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province. With the operation of the new line, China’s high-speed railway lines have exceeded 20,000 kms in total length, the world’s longest.
  • The 360 km line connects high-speed railway in the west with two major north-south lines, helping cut travel time between the west and east. The travel time between Xi’an and Shanghai is cut to six hours from nearly 11 hours. The line has nine stations and trains run at a speed of up to 300 kph in the initial period.
4) India takes US to WTO over renewable energy row.
  • India has draged the US to the WTO over America’s domestic content requirements and subsidies provided by eight states in the renewable energy sector.
  • India has requested consultations with the US under the dispute settlement system regarding alleged domestic content requirements and subsidies provided by eight US states in the renewable energy sector, The eight states are – Washington, California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota.
  • The request for consultations is the first step in a dispute at the WTO under its Dispute Settlement System. 
  • Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.
  • After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

5) China has `world`s highest bridge`.

  • China has completed the construction of the highest bridge in the world, 565 meters above the Nizhu River Canyon in the south.
  • The bridge called Beipanjiang and located between the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou.
  • The construction of Beipanjiang lasted for three years with the participation of at least 1,000 engineers and technicians.
  • With the opening of Beipanjiang, it will be officially the world`s highest bridge overtaking China`s Sidu River Bridge in the central province of Hubei, which opened in 2009.
  • The completion of Beipanjiang comes less than a month after the Asian country opened the world`s longest and highest glass bridge(430 meters long and 300 meters high).
6) US designates India as major illicit drug producer.
  • India and 21 other countries have been designated as `Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries` by US President Barack Obama. Other countries in the list include Pakistan, Bahamas, Afghanistan, and Mexico, among others.
  • In a notification, Obama further designated Bolivia, Myanmar and Venezuela as countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotic agreements and take measures against them.
  • A countrys presence on the foregoing Major Drug Transit and Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries list is not a reflection of its government’s counter-narcotic efforts or level of cooperation with the US.
  • According to US law enforcement, most illicit fentanyl, precursors, and fentanyl analogues that have been identified in the US originate in China and enter the country via Mexico, Canada, or direct mail.
7) Strongest typhoon in 21 years hits Taiwan.
  • Taipei - Parts of Taiwan came to a standstill as super typhoon Meranti brought the strongest winds in 21 years, while China issued a red alert for waves as the storm bore down on the mainland.
  • Meranti brought violent winds and torrential rain to eastern and southern Taiwan as it skirted past the island`s southern tip, with Hengchun`s observation station recording the strongest winds in its 120-year history.
  • The typhoon, which was moving northwest into the Taiwan Strait, is expected to make landfall in Southern China in Fujian and Guangdong provinces.
  • At 1000 GMT, Meranti was 60 kilometres (37 miles) south-southwest of Taiwan`s Penghu Island, packing gusts of up to 227 kilometres per hour.
  • The storm was forecast to have dumped as much as 800 millimetres (31.5 inches) of rain in mountainous areas, potentially triggering landslides.

8) Obama to establish first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

  • President Barack Obama will establish the first national marine monument in the Atlantic, a move that’s designed to permanently protect nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the coast of New England.
  • The announcement was made by the American president at the third annual Our Ocean Conference in Washington DC. The Conference is hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. The Conference focuses on issues related to marine-protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.
  • Obama had decided to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 1.1 million square km, creating the world’s largest marine protected area.
  • More than 20 countries attending the annual ocean conservation meeting will announce the creation of 40 significant new marine protected areas, totalling nearly 1.2 million square km of ocean.
  •  When combined with the Papahanaumokuakea expansion, the nations of the world have protected more than 900000 square miles of ocean in 2016, exceeding last year’s record of more than 1.9 million square km.
9) India to sign $8.8 billion Rafale jets deal with France.
  • India and France have finalised the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. The multi-million deal saw protracted negotiations with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
  • India will buy French-made Rafale fighter jets for 8.8 billion dollars and it will take at least 18 months for India to get the first lot of aircraft.
  • The jets have been manufactured by Dassault Aviation. But, the significant part is that Government is likely to save Rs 3 billion dollars in the deal.
  • France initially sought nearly 12 billion dollars for the sale of 36 fighters complete with weapon systems. India has closed the deal nearly 3 billion dollars below France`s asking price.
  • Early negotiations had stalled over disagreements concerning technology transfer agreements between Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., which was to manufacture the aircraft in India after an initial delivery from Dassault.
10) India extends $750 million credit line to Nepal for post-quake reconstruction. 
  • India extended a fresh $750 million credit line to Nepal for post-earthquake reconstruction.
  • This was among three agreements signed following delegation-level talks chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart, Puhspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
  • Fresh impetus to Nepal`s development Leaders witness signing of agreements on roads and reconstruction projects.
  • The $750 million credit line is over and above the $1 billion aid that India announced following the devastating earthquake in the Himalayan nation last April that claimed over 8,000 lives.
  • The two sides also signed a memorandum of agreement (MoU) for project management consultancy services for upgrading and improving the road infrastructure in Nepal`s Terai area.
11) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited gets membership of APAQG with voting right. 
  • State owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has granted prestigious membership of Asia-Pacific Aerospace Quality Group (APAQG) under category `Full Member with voting rights`.
  • With this India becomes seventh nation to join the APAQG under the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). Other nations of APAQG are South Korea, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.
  • With this HAL is now a part of Global Quality team dedicated to bring improvements in the Aerospace Quality.
  • The membership allows HAL to participate in international forums and contribute to the development and revision of current and new quality Standards.
  • It also enables HAL to have access to various Quality System Standards and other guidelines developed by IAQG.
  • For becoming part of IAQG, HAL has to be a member of APAQG and then graduate to IAQG as a voting member by virtue of being an OEM in India.
12) First Indian music dance festival starts in Sydney.
  • A first-of-its-kind Indian music and dance festival aimed to showcase the country`s rich and diverse culture was kicked off in iconic Sydney Opera House.
  • The 10-week festival "Confluence: Festival of India" was inaugurated by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.
  • Almost 2000 people attended the two-hour long show which showcased the rich and diverse culture of Indian music and dance along with Australian performers.
  • The festival, an initiative of Indian government supported by the Australian side, will run across seven cities including Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.
  • The concert which marked the launch of the festival included the famous Manipuri drummers, Sufi singing artist Sonam Kalra, odissi, Kathak and Bharatnatyam dancers, Australian musicians and aboriginal dancers who received a standing ovation from the jam-packed audience.