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International Current Affairs July 5th Week 2017
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Category : International Current Affairs
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International Current Affairs July 5th Week 2017

1. Iran, Iraq ink pact on military cooperation.

 

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Iran and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to step up military cooperation and the fight against terrorism and extremism. The MoU encourages promotion of interaction and share of experiences in the fight against terrorism and extremism, border security, training and logistical, technical and military support between both countries.

Iran and Iraq are hoping that the agreement would result in deeper and more serious military cooperation between the two countries. Moreover Iran is going to continue to provide full support to establish sustainable security and stability. However, this military deal likely to trigger concerns in the United States as it has voiced concern over growing Iranian influence in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, where it is aligned with rebel Shia fighters.
 
2. World’s first wind farm being built off Scotland coast.
 
worlds first wind farm being built off scotland coast
 
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The world’s first full—scale floating wind farm is being built off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea. The wind farm, known as Hywind is a trial project which aims to bring power to 20,000 homes. The floating wind farm technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters that are too deep for the existing bottom—standing turbines particularly installed in shallow waters.

Unlike normal turbines, floating turbines are not attached to the seabed by foundations. Rather, they are attached by long mooring tethers, allowing them to be placed in deep water. Traditional fixed turbines work best at a depth of 20-50m on stationary base.

The park will be around four square kilometers in size in deep sea. Each turbine in the park will be floating at a depth of between 95 and 120 metres.  Each turbine tower, including the blades in the floating wind park is 175m high and weighs 11,500 tonnes. It uses a large buoy filled with iron ore to weight the base to keep it upright. The turbines also make use of new blade technology, which twits the blades in order to lessen the impact of wind, waves and currents to hold turbine tower upright.

The turbines in the floating wind farm can operate in water up to a kilometre deep. The power output is also larger than power generation from current stationary turbines. This revolutionary tech development project will demonstrate workability of floating wind farm technology in open sea conditions and also help to bring costs down.

 3. BRICS nations sign Taxation Cooperation Memorandum.

BRICS nations sign Taxation Cooperation Memorandum

 
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Tax authorities of the BRICS- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have signed BRICS Taxation Cooperation Memorandum to establish a mechanism for taxation cooperation.

The landmark document is the bloc’s first document that elevates taxation cooperation to the institutional level. It was signed at the fifth meeting of BRICS Heads of Tax Authorities.

The BRICS countries are home to 42% of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12% to 23% in the past decade, while contributing more than half of global growth.

The meeting of tax authorities comes ahead of the 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, Fujian province of China in September 2017. In this meeting, tax authorities from member countires also agreed to cooperate on taxation information exchange, boost taxation capacities, improve consultation procedures efficiency and plan paths for coordination of taxation policies and tax collection.

4. 2017 BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting held in Chongqing.
2017 BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting held in Chongqing
 
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BRICS countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa have agreed to work together to ensure stable employment and better quality of life for their people. Decision in this regard was taken at the 2017 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting held in Chongqing, China. The meeting comes ahead of 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, China in September 2017.

Labour and Employment Ministers from BRICS counters discussed topics ranging from skills-driven development to a universally sustainable social security system. They passed BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration. It covers a variety of areas that are of critical importance to all BRICS countries including India and called upon strengthening collaboration and cooperation on these through appropriate institutionalisation.

These areas covered under the declaration consist of Governance in the Future of Work, Universal and sustainable social security systems, Skills for development in BRICS, BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework, BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutions and BRICS entrepreneurship research.

They also presented four documents, including one on common ground in labour market governance and an action plan on skills-driven poverty alleviation. They also held that they should work together to boost employment and inclusive growth, enhancing the skills of professionals to alleviate poverty.

 5. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has resigned from his post after the Supreme Court disqualified him in the Panama Papers case. This is the third time Nawaz Sharif has been unable to complete his term in the chief executive’s office.

In a landmark judgment, a five Judge bench of Pakistan Supreme Court unanimously ruled to register a case against Nawaz Sharif and his family guilty of money laundering.
 

Pakistan SC Ruling
 
Prime Minister had been dishonest to Parliament and the courts, in not disclosing his employment in a Dubai-based company in his 2013 nomination papers, and thus, could not be deemed fit for his office.

It ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file a reference in an accountability court in six weeks and the case must be completed within six months. It also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue a notification declaring the Prime Minister’s disqualification.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and two sons were engulfed by corruption charges as pointed in Panama Paper leaks. The scandal had revealed that Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz owned offshore companies illegally which managed their family’s properties.

Panama Paper leaks
 
The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca based in Panama. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The documents had leaked the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. The leaks disclosed 12 national leaders among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known using these offshore tax havens.

No democratically-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan has managed to complete a full term in office in the nation’s 70-year history. Only one Pakistani government has completed its full term, but it had two prime ministers. Besides, Pakistan also has witnessed three successful coups and spent more than half of its time under military rule.
 
6. 28 July: World Hepatitis Day
 
28 July: World Hepatitis Day
 
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The World Hepatitis Day is being observed every year on July 28 around the world by World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread awareness about viral hepatitis. This year the theme of the Day is – “Eliminate Hepatitis”.

The observance of the day seeks to encourage diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis. Provide a single global platform to raise awareness about hepatitis and influence real change in disease prevention, testing and treatment

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a viral infection which causes inflammation in the liver. It is a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. According to WHO, Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year.

About World Hepatitis Day

The day is being observed since 2010. It is one of the 8 official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO. It was established by resolution of WHO passed in in May 2010. The date 28 July was chosen to mark the birth anniversary of Professor Baruch Blumberg who had discovered hepatitis B virus. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1976) for this discovery.
 
7. 29 July: International Tiger Day.
 
29 July: International Tiger Day.
 
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The International Tiger Day (also known as Global Tiger Day) is celebrated every year on 29 July to raise awareness for tiger conservation. The goal of observance of the day is to promote the protection and expansion of the wild tigers habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation.

On this occasion, special programmes are being organized all over the globe by many international organisations including the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) etc. organized events.

The International Tiger Day was founded in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit. The summit had issued St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation with an aim to double the big cat population by 2022. The tiger is the largest of the world’s big cats with its distinctive orange and black stripes and beautifully marked face.

It is has been founded that in the last century 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared due to many factors including habitat loss, hunting and poaching, climate change. According to WWF, only 3,890 tigers are left in the world, of them, India with more than 2500 tigers has the highest number.
 
8. India is world’s third-biggest beef exporter: OECD-FAO report.
 
India is world’s third-biggest beef exporter: OECD-FAO report
 
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According to recently released OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 report, India is the world’s third-biggest exporter of beef. Brazil was ranked as the world’s top beef exporter followed by Australia.

The report was released jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD).

India exported 1.56 million tonnes of beef in 2016. It is expected to maintain its position as the third-largest beef exporter, accounting for 16% of global exports in 2026 by exporting 1.93 tonnes that year. India imported 363,000 tonnes of beef in 2016 and the amount was projected to stay the same over the decade.

The type of beef exported was not specified, but the exported meat appears to be mostly from buffaloes as the report has specified the animal for imports by Myanmar from India. It needs to be clarified whether the report classifies even buffalo meat as beef.

The total world beef exports was 10.95 million tonnes in 2016 and it is expected to increase to 12.43 million tonnes by 2026. Till 2015, India was the world’s largest exporter of beef and had extended its lead over the next highest exporter, Brazil.
 
9. Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota port deal.
 
Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota port deal
 
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Sri Lanka has signed a US $1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake of the strategic Hambantota deep-sea port to China. Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.

The deal was signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holding Co. (CMPort). Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort will invest up to US $1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities. CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and services.

The port is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which will link ports and roads between China and Europe. It is also considered that, this deal gives an advantage to China in the bunkering business, which provides fuel to ships.

India`s Concern
India is apprehensive that the port is part of Chinese ‘string of pearls’ with an objective to surround India and dock its military vessels. The String of pearls is a geopolitical theory on potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication extending from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan. These sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca and the Lombok Strait as well as other strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.
 
10. China successfully produces gas from flammable ice under South China Sea.
 
China successfully produces gas from flammable ice under South China Sea
 
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China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea (SCS).
 
As part of the experiment, a drilling platform had produced a total of 309,000 cubic metres of natural gas from gas hydrate in 60 days.

Methane hydrate has been identified as a potential new gas source for China, with the South China Sea thought to contain some of the world’s most promising flammable ice deposits. India, Canada and US are also believed to be looking at hydrates as an alternative energy source.

Flammable ice (also known as methane hydrate or methane clathrates) consists of methane trapped within water crystals. It is the world’s largest natural gas resource is trapped beneath permafrost and ocean sediment where low temperature and moderate pressure combine to trap methane in this specific way.

The methane hydrate is highly flammable and energy-intensive fuel as one cubic metre of the compound can releases about 160 cubic metres of gas. It can break down into water and methane after temperature is raised or pressure is lowered.

It is likely to be the world’s last great source of carbon-based fuel and has potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could cater future energy needs. Its vast deposits exist underneath all oceans around the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves.

 

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