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International Current Affairs April 3rd Week 2019

 1. Macron to unveil new measures to allay `yellow vest` anger

French President Emmanuel Macron will set out a series of major policy announcements tonight in response to five months of nationwide "yellow vest" protests.
Macron`s reform drive was abruptly knocked by the yellow vests, whose movement erupted in November against social inequality.
The French President said, he has decided to transform the anger into solutions.
In one of the most important weeks of the president`s career, he is also due to hold a press conference at the Elysee.
The yellow vest movement, named after the fluorescent safety jackets worn by demonstrators, began in rural and small-town France over fuel taxes and quickly snowballed into a broader anti-capitalist, anti-establishment rebellion.
 
2. WHO raises alarm over 300% increase in case of measles globally
 
World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarm over a 300 percent increase in the case of measles globally in the first quarter of 2019 compared with last year. 
The UN body said provisional data has indicated a a clear trend, with all regions of the world seeing outbreaks.
The WHO has said that the early trends for 2019 likely underestimated the severity of the outbreaks since only about one in 10 actual measles cases was reported. 
So far this year, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases to WHO.
At this time in 2018, 163 countries had reported 28,124 cases. It also added that Africa has witnessed the most dramatic rise - up 700% which has weaker vaccination coverage than other regions. Measles, an airborne infection causing fever, cough and rashes that can be deadly in rare cases - had been officially eliminated in many countries with advanced healthcare systems.
 
3. China’s Belt and Road Initiative
 
Malaysia will resume work on the multi-billion dollar East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) after months of negotiations with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and the Chinese government brought the cost down by a third. China is building a deep-sea port on Malaysia’s east coast and the railway is a key link in its Belt and Road Initiative.
BRI consisting of the land-based belt, ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, aims to connect the East Asian economic region with the European economic circle and runs across the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
BRI is China’s ambitious project announced in 2013. It covers about 65% of the world population, 60% of the world GDP and over 70 countries in six economic corridors.
China is spending almost $1 trillion to revive and renew the overland and maritime trade links between China, Europe, West Asia, and East Africa through construction of modern ports linked to high-speed road and rail corridors.
India argues that the BRI and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project violates its sovereignty because it passes through the part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that belongs to India.
 
4. The bill H R 2123
 
US lawmakers introduce new legislation to strengthen US-India strategic partnership- The bill H R 2123.
If enacted, the new bill would ensure that the US State Department treats India as a NATO ally for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act.
The law would send a powerful signal that defence sales to India should be prioritised according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which had worked on this important legislation.
The legislation bolsters national security and helps ensure full alignment between the Department of Defence and the Department of State.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2017 included special language recognising the unique US-India defence relationship that designated India as a “Major Defence Partner” of the United States. The language seeks unique consideration for trade and technology sharing with India and increased attention and support to advance this relationship in the areas of defence trade and technology sharing.
 
5. 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific (RCAP) Congress 2019
 
4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific (RCAP) Congress 2019 was recently organized by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in association with South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
It is the annual global platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation.
It is convened by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and co-hosted by the World Mayors Council on Climate Change and the City of Bonn.
It was launched in 2010 with the goal of forging partnerships and dialogues that matter.
The Asia-Pacific Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation – Resilient Cities Asia Pacific Congress (RCAP) is a response to heightened demand from the Asia Pacific Region, which encouraged ICLEI to expand the congress series to include Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific, bringing the event and the focus to the Asia-Pacific region, catering to the situation, challenges and opportunities of local governments specifically in this region.
To provide an Asian platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation where partnerships are forged and concrete dialogues are happening, with the ultimate goal of identifying solutions and creating lasting impacts for cities in the region.
 
6. Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)’s Report
 
US -based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) has released a report on the state of health services.
India has a shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses. There is one government doctor for every 10,189 people (the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1,000).
Lack of access to antibiotics kills more people currently than does antibiotic resistance.
65% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and such expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year.
The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Even after the discovery of new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability.
Worldwide, the irrational use of antibiotics and poor antimicrobial stewardship lead to treatment failure and propagate the spread of drug resistance which, in turn, further narrows the available array of effective antibiotics.
 
7. 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials Meet
 
On 11th April 2019, the 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) was held at New Delhi to improve the connectivity and strengthen the cooperation in the maritime sector between Indian and the ASEAN countries.
It was co-chaired by Smt. Vijay Thakur Singh, SOM Leader and Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India and H.E. Mrs. Busaya Mathelin, SOM Leader and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand.
India welcomed Thailand for its role as Country Coordinator of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership for the period 2018-2021 and also praised Thailand for the Chairmanship of ASEAN for 2019.
In this Meeting, the senior officials were decided to enhance the cooperation in Renewable Energy and hold an ASEAN-India Conference on Renewable Energy in 2019. In this project, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) will be the co-partners.
This partnership was implemented through the ‘Plan of Action (2016-20) to execute the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity’.
 
8. Social Democrats party wins general elections in Finland
 
Finland`s leftist Social Democrats have recorded a razor-thin victory in general elections, holding off the far-right Finns Party. With 100 per cent of ballots counted, the Social Democrats, led by Antti Rinne, bagged 40 seats in the 200-member Parliament, while the Finns Party picked up 39 seats. 
The National Coalition Party claimed 38 seats, with the ruling Centre Party winning 31 seats. The remaining seats were won by other parties.
Outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipila said, his Centre party was the election`s biggest loser, blaming the difficult economic decisions his administration made in an attempt to rebalance the economy. The Social Democrats will head a government for the first time in 16 years, though it has been a junior coalition member since then.
 
9. UAE to host world’s foremost Artificial Intelligence Summit
 
UAE is set to host the world’s foremost Artificial Intelligence,AI Summit to empower global dialogue on the future of government, business and society. 
The inaugural `AI Everything`, AIE will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, between 30th of this month and 1st of next month
. Emirates News Agency reported that the two-day event will bring together world leaders to define the underlying pillars of governance, business and society - augmenting the world’s happiness.
It will be hosted by the UAE National Programme for Artificial Intelligence, with the support of International Telecommunication Union, ITU, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, WIPO, and in strategic partnership with Smart Dubai.
AIE will unravel real-world use cases across industries, and forge collaborations and partnerships, hosting over 130 influential speakers.
 
10. G20 summit in Riyadh in November 2020 
 
Saudi Arabia will host G20 summit in November 2020 in Riyadh. 
This will be the first G20 meeting in the Arab world and the 15th meeting of the G20 (Group of Twenty).
The G20 summit 2018 was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina where Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud represented his kingdom. The G20 summit of 2019 will be held in Osaka, Japan in June 28-29.
For the very 1st time, the G20 summit was held in 2008 in Washington, D.C. with the prime objective of reviving the world economy from the worst financial crisis in more than 70 years. The G20 Summit is formally known as the ‘Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy’.
The participants of the summit will be leaders from 19 countries and the Europian Union (EU). The 19 countries are, namely, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America.
The group of these 20 countries account for 85% of the world’s GDP and two-thirds of the world population.
 
11. World Press Freedom Index 2019 
 
Recently, Reporters Without Borders released World Press Freedom Index 2019 in which Norway topped the index in third consecutive year and India drops down by two positions (138th rank in 2018) to be ranked 140thout of 180 countries in 2019. The reason for decrease in India’s rank is because of at least six Indian journalists being killed in last one year.
Two African countries Ethiopia and Gambia have significantly improved their ranking from 150th to 110th and 122nd to 92nd respectively as compare to 2018.
Rank Country
1st Norway
2nd Finland
3rd Sweden
4th Netherlands
5th Denmark
In South Asia region, countries have poorly ranked as compare to last year. Pakistan dropped three places to 142 and Bangladesh dropped four places to 150.
Bottom 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019
   Rank     Country
    176th    Vietnam
    177th      China
    178th     Eritrea
    179th North Korea
    180th Turkmenistan
 
 
 
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International Current Affairs April 3rd Week 2019

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