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International Current Affairs April 4th Week
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International Current Affairs April 4th Week

 1. India’s GDP To Reach $5 Trillion By 2025.

India`s GDP expected to reach $5 trillion by 2025

India is poised to remain the fastest growing large economy in the world and its GDP is expected to reach $5 trillion by 2025 as the economic reforms adopted in last few years have started to bear fruit, a top Indian official said. Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said India will continue to be a beacon of growth in the South Asian region.

i. Growth: In 2018, we expect India to grow at over 7.4%

"India is poised to remain as the fastest growing large economy in the world. In 2018, we expect India to grow at over 7.4%," Garg told the 97th meeting of Development Committee of the World Bank. Transformational reforms such as GST and initiatives such as Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, recapitalization of banks, and unclogging of infrastructure investments will support such elevated growth, he said.

ii. The rise: GDP rise expected by leveraging on digitization, globalization, others

Adding that the country had grown at an average of 7.2% per annum in the last four years, Garg said, "India has undertaken massive structural reforms toward formalization of the economy and fostering digital financial inclusion." "India`s GDP is expected to reach a volume of $5 trillion by FY2025 by leveraging on digitization, globalization, favorable demographics and structural reforms," he added.

 iii. Economy: In Arun Jaitley`s absence, Garg is leading Indian delegation

In Arun Jaitley`s absence, Garg is leading the Indian delegation for the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. India accorded top priority to addressing its infrastructure deficit to sustain economic growth. Steps have been taken to mobilize funds from various sources for the development of infrastructure which includes, inter alia, launching of innovative financial vehicles, Garg added.

 iv. Fact: What is the main feature of India`s economic performance?

Garg told the World Bank that one of the key features of India`s economic performance in recent years has been the speed and scale of implementation of reforms. "Recent upgrade of sovereign rating reflects India`s strength, speed, and scale of these ongoing reforms," he said.

 

2. EU, UN Co-Host Conference On Syria Aid.

The European Union(EU) and the United Nations(UN) are set to co-chair a two-day international conference starting from Tuesday in Brussels, aiming to pump financial aid for Syrians and garner political support for UN-led intra-Syrian talks.

The conference, the second of its kind since 2017, will bring together participants from more than 85 countries and organizations at ministerial level, as well as those from more than 200 non-governmental organizations(NGOs), according to the Council of the EU.

 The first day`s meeting focuses on dialogues with NGOs from Syria and the region, which are expected to provide "concrete operational recommendations" to the ministerial meeting on the second day.

In the aftermath of the U.S.-led airstrikes on alleged chemical weapon-related facilities in Syria earlier this month, the conference gets more international attention than the previous one in April 4-5, 2017, during which international donors pledged 5.6 billion euros (6.85 billion U.S. dollars)in aid for 2017 and 3.47 billion euros for 2018-2020.

The EU and its member states are the top donors in Syria and the region, having mobilized over 10.6 billion euros in humanitarian aid and stabilization assistance since 2011, the Council data showed. Despite lending its weight to the targeted airstrikes earlier this month, the Council underlined that " there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva."

"We would like to use the Brussels conference to send a clear message from the international community that the fighting has to stop and that the political process has to start," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on March 19 at a press conference following the bloc`s monthly foreign affairs council.

The UN-backed intra-Syrian negotiations have been suspended since the ninth round, which was held in Vienna on January 25-26, ended up with a truce between the warring sides in Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

The eighth round of the talks concluded in Geneva on Dec. 14, 2017, making little progress due to a wide rift.

According to UN data, the Syrian crisis over the past six years has caused 330,000 deaths and displaced half of the country`s population, with 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. (1 euro = 1.22 U.S. dollars)

 

3. Iran Bans Banks From Using Cryptocurrencies.

Iran has banned the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by its banks and financial institutions.

"The use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in all the country`s monetary and financial centers was banned," an April 23 statement by the central bank said.

It said the decision had been made in December by the government`s money-laundering committee and it was now being put into effect.

The ban was necessary since "all cryptocurrencies have the capacity to be turned into a means for money-laundering and financing terrorism and in general can be turned into a means for transferring criminals` money," it added.

Many Iranian individuals consider cryptocurrencies an alternative to overcoming difficulties related to international sanctions and the country`s ailing financial institutions.

 

4. Sushma Swaraj Attends Meeting Of India-Mongolia Joint Committee.

India and Mongolia today discussed economic cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, energy, services and IT and agreed to explore possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a joint media briefing with Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar after the 6th Session of the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation here said the two countries agreed to explore ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance bilateral trade and investments.

Swaraj, the first Indian foreign minister to visit the resource-rich country in 42 years, said India sees Mongolia as a factor of stability in East Asia and believes that Mongolia`s social and economic development is important for peace and prosperity in the region.

During the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation, the two sides discussed pressing global challenges, particularly the scourge of terrorism and agreed to collaborate bilaterally and in international arena to thwart the designs of those who extend support to terrorist outfits.

The two sides also reviewed the progress in the ongoing collaborative projects, including the refinery project selected by the Government of Mongolia for implementation with the support of USD one billion Indian Line of Credit.

"We directed our officials to coordinate follow up action on each side for the expeditious implementation of these projects. Our strong political ties must be complemented by commensurate levels of trade, economy and investment," she said.

"Today, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing large economies in the world. With its rich natural resources and strong aspiration for development, Mongolia can be an important partner in India`s growth story," she said.

Swaraj, who arrive here yesterday on a two-day visit, said collaboration for the ongoing refinery project is in recognition of this fact.

She said Mongolia is not only India`s strategic partner but also a spiritual neighbour.

"We share long historical links. Mongolia is well known in India for the valour of her kings and her strong Buddhist heritage. India was among the first countries, outside the erstwhile Communist bloc, to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia," she said.

 

5. World Malaria Day: 25 April.

World Malaria Day 2018 has "Ready to beat malaria" as its theme. Every year, April 25 is celebrated as World Malaria Day. Malaria is a life-threatening disease which is caused by mosquito bites. Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasite and is transmitted in humans through the bite of Anopheles mosquito. After an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites begin to multiply in the person`s liver. It progresses to infect and destroy red blood cells in the body. Common symptoms of severe malaria include flu, fever and chills, deep breathing and respiratory distress, abnormal bleeding, signs of anaemia and impaired consciousness. Some cases of malaria can be controlled by early diagnosis. But there are some countries which are unable to treat malaria in the initial stages effectively. 

World Malaria Day: Theme and Significance.

This year, the World Health Organisation has joined hands with its partner organisations in order to promote its theme of Ready to beat Malaria. The theme marks the importance of collective responsibility and commitment of the global malaria community in bringing together people on working towards a world free of malaria. The theme puts the exemplary progress achieved in tackling malaria under the spotlight. It also puts focus on disturbing trends captured in World malaria report in 2017.

Also, the World Malaria Day this year coincides with activities that will mark WHO`s 70th anniversary. As part of awareness campaigns and events organised in order to mark the day, the WHO will be sharing several interviews with leaders and advocates who have been involved in malaria control. These leaders will come together to reflect on key moments in fighting malaria over the past 70 years.

The response which is achieved regarding malaria globally is at a point where there is need to make a crucial decision with far-reaching consequences. This is because the progress towards controlling malaria has stopped after achieving an unprecedented period of success in controlling malaria.

 

6. The World`s 50 Greatest Leaders 2018: Mukesh Ambani Ranks 24th.

Three Indians, including Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani and human rights lawyer Indira Jaising, feature in Fortune magazine as the 50 Greatest Leaders of 2018, released on Thursday.

Architect Balkrishna Doshi is the third Indian in the list of the American magazine "of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today`s challenges" and includes Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Ranking Ambani, who turned 61 on Thursday, at 24th place, Fortune said that he had "in less than two years, brought mobile data to the masses and completely upended the country`s telecom market".

"Since Ambani, chief of the $47 billion conglomerate Reliance Industries, launched Jio -- the first mobile network in the world to be entirely IP-based -- in September 2016, the company has signed up a staggering 168 million subscribers.

"The secret? Offering dirt-cheap data and free calls (and plowing billions of dollars into the infrastructure that transmits them). The effect, dubbed `Jio-fication`, has driven India`s higher-price carriers to drop costs (if not run them out of business), and it fueled a 1,100 per cent rise in India`s monthly data consumption," it said.

 

7. PM Modi Embarks On 3-Day Visit To China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs on a two-day visit to China on Thursday. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an informal summit on Friday and Saturday in Wuhan city. 

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on Sunday said that it will be an important occasion for Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping to exchange views on bilateral and international matters with the objective of enhancing mutual communication at the level of leaders. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping will be a milestone in India-China relations. 

This will be Prime Minister Modi`s fourth visit to China after he came to power in 2014. Prime Minister is again due to visit China to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held in Qingdao city on June 9 and 10.

 

9. Mario Abdo Benitez Elected New President Of Paraguay.

The son of the private secretary to Paraguay’s former dictator Alfredo Stroessner has narrowly snatched victory from a centre-left coalition after an election campaign that revived memories of Stroessner’s bloody 1954-89 rule.

Mario Abdo Benítez, 46 – from a conservative wing of the ruling Colorado party – thanked his opponent, Efraín Alegre, 55, of the Alianza grouping, for a “healthy competition”. Abdo Benítez promised to work for national unity.

“From today, useless division is finished. The debate is over,” he said in a victory speech on Sunday. “We’re builders, and all are welcome who want to build the future of this fatherland.”

Earlier in the day, the Colorado candidate, who was 17 and studying in the US when Stroessner was forced into exile, visited his father’s mausoleum – immediately next to the grave of South America’s longest-serving dictator.

Abdo Benítez was a pallbearer at Stroessner’s funeral in 2006, entering politics in the same year after founding the “Peace and Progress” Colorado movement – named after Stroessner’s favoured slogan – with the dictator’s grandson.

He defeated a technocratic candidate, Santiago Peña – the preferred successor of the current president, Horacio Cartes – in Colorado primaries in December, capturing the rural Colorado base through his opposition to Cartes’s debt-heavy economic model.

On the trail, Abdo Benítez emphasised family values and hinted at enforcing obligatory military service. He repeatedly refused to condemn the dictatorship outright, expressing regret for the 425 people killed and nearly 19,000 tortured under Stroessner but emphasising what he called the “achievements” of the military regime. 

Yet for many Colorado voters, the dictatorship had little relevance for the election. “The issue of Stronismo, that’s from another era,” said Nelson Zamudio, a shopkeeper in the southeastern city of Coronel Oviedo.


 

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