International Current Affairs
International Current Affairs November 1st Week 2016
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) EU Canada Sign Landmark Free Trade Agreement

  • European Union, EU and Canada have signed a landmark trade deal. The deal was signed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top European Union officials in Brussels on 29th October. 
  • The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, required all European Union member states to endorse it. All 28 European Union states approved the deal on 28th October when consensus was reached.  
  • The CETA removes 99 percent of customs duties between the two sides, linking the single European Union market with the world`s 10th largest economy. It is seen by many EU officials as a model for future economic agreements with the bloc’s other large trade partners including the likely one with the U.K. once it leaves the EU.  
  • The CETA aims to revoke roughly 9,000 tariffs, covering many industrial goods and agricultural and food items. It also promises to open up competition in the services sector, including in banking and insurance. The deal can be applied provisionally once the European Parliament also ratifies it in December.  
2) World Cities Day observed with theme `Inclusive Cities, Shared Development`


  • The United Nations has designated every 31st of October as World Cities Day. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community`s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. 
  • On 31st October, 2016, on the occasion of the World observed Cities Day the UN said that with the commitment to work together for a planned and sustainable urban life in the wake of rapid growth of population and problems. The theme of 2016 Day is "Inclusive Cities, Shared Development" to highlight the role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion. 
3) 300 million children live with polluted outdoor air: UNICEF


  • United Nations Children`s Fund, UNICEF has said, about 300 million children live with polluted outdoor air and it can cause serious physical damage, including harming their developing brains. In a study published, it said, nearly one child in seven around the globe breathes outdoor air that is at least six times dirtier than international guidelines.  
  • The study said, air pollution is a leading factor in child mortality. Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, has said, air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year, and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day. 
  • He said, pollutants do not only harm children`s developing lungs but can actually cross the blood brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains.  
  • South Asia has the largest number of children living in such areas at about 620 million, followed by Africa with 520 million and the East Asia and Pacific region with 450 million. The report said, the air is poisoned by vehicle emissions, fossil fuels, dust, burning waste and other airborne pollutants. 

4) Panama Papers: Pakistan Supreme Court orders corruption probe against Nawaz Sharif

    Nawaz Sharif

  • In a setback to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court on 1st November ordered to form a judicial commission to probe into the Panama Papers scandal involving corruption allegations against the family of the beleaguered premier. 
  • A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali conducted the hearing in presence of several ministers,lawyers. The Supreme Court heard several identical petitions by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and others to investigate charges of corruption against Sharif and his relatives. According to the Panama Papers, three of Sharif`s four children - Maryam, Hasan and Hussain are owners of off-shore companies.  
5) South Korean President Park reshuffles cabinet amid scandal

    South Korean

  • In South Korea, President Park Geun-hye, has named a new Prime Minister and Finance Minister amid a scandal that threatens to bring down her administration. Kim Byong joon, a senior Presidential Secretary under a previous administration, was named as Prime Minister to replace Hwang Kyo-ahn.  
  • The role of Prime minister is largely symbolic in South Korea, where power is concentrated in the Presidency. Yim Jong-yong, currently Financial Services Commission chairman, was named as the new finance minister and Deputy Prime Minister, replacing Yoo Il-ho. A new Minister of public safety and security has also been appointed in the reshuffle.  
  • Park Geun-hye has come under attack over the actions of her old friend and mentor Choi Soon sil. Ms Choi was detained by police accused of influence peddling and interfering in state affairs. Eight banks have also been raided in connection with the scandal.  
6) UK High court says parliament must vote on triggering article 50 


  • In a major victory for Remain campaigners and those alarmed by the British government’s efforts to singlehandedly control the country’s exit from the European Union (EU), the High Court ruled that Brexit could not be triggered without a parliamentary vote.  
  • The court rejected government arguments that clauses in a piece of legislation from 1972 gave it the power to act without parliamentary approval when it came to triggering Article 50, which gives EU member-states a two-year period to withdraw.  
  • The government’s argument was “contrary to the fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of Parliament” and the government’s lack of entitlement to use its prerogative powers to change domestic law, the court said on 3rd November.  
  • The developments are the latest dramatic twist in the political drama that has enveloped the United Kingdom since the surprise vote in favour of leaving the EU in June. 

7) UK announces new visa policy for non-EU nationals


  • UK has announced changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals, which will affect a large number of Indians especially IT professionals. Under the new visa rules announced released on 4th November by the Home Office, anyone applying after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds.  
  • The ICT route is largely used by Indian IT companies in Britain and the UK`s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) had found earlier 2016 that Indian IT workers accounted for nearly 90 per cent of visas issued under this route.  
  • Nationals outside the European Union, including Indians, will also be affected by new English language requirements when applying for settlement as a family member after two and a half years in the UK on a five-year route to residency settlement in the UK.  
  • The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave to remain in the UK under the family immigration rules is due to expire on or after 1st May 2017. 
8) Sonu Sood-starrer `Xuanzang` China`s official entry to Oscars

    Sonu Sood

  • China has selected historical adventure film "Xuanzang", which also stars Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, as its official entry for the 89th Academy Awards. Sonu Sood is making his debut in Chinese film industry with the movie, is playing the character named Harsha.  
  • Directed by Huo Jianqi, it also stars Indian actors Neha Sharma and Ali Fazal. Sonu is also part of Indo-Chinese co-production "Kung Fu Yoga" starring Jackie Chan in the lead role. The project is a part of the three-film agreement signed between India and China during Chinese President Xi Jinpings visit to India. 
9) Asia-Pacific nations resolve to work for disaster risk

    Asia Pacific

  • As many as 51 countries in the Asia-Pacific region on 5th November resolved to work for handling all kinds of disasters by strengthening the apparatus and to tackle such exigencies through global frameworks.  
  • In a statement, `New Delhi Declaration`, the participating nations of the three-day Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2016 spelt out the commitment towards preventing and reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of communities.  
  • The conference also announced an Asian Regional Plan for implementation of the Sendai Framework which focuses on how to reduce disaster risk at national and local levels. 
  • The conference also arrived at a longer-term road map of cooperation and collaboration, spanning the 15-year horizon of the Sendai Framework, as well as a two-year action plan to further disaster risk reduction with specific, actionable activities.  
  • It said, voluntary action statements of stakeholder groups towards a shared responsibility approach in implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, SFDRR.  
  • The conference also commemorated the first World Tsunami Awareness Day. The observance of the day stressed on the importance of early warning systems and preparedness of communities in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard. It was the first Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction after the advent of SFDRR.