International News – June-August 2016

Current Affairs – International News General Awareness – June-August 2016 – for general awareness paper of various competitive exams

ARMS RACE

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has officially declared India’s membership, stating that as a new member India will be entitled to “full participation” in organisational activities. India had firmed up its claim to MTCR by joining The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC). MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. MTCR aims at restricting the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

ENVIRONMENT

A two-day meeting of BRICS Parliamentarians on disaster management was held in Udaipur, India, in August 2016. The meeting laid bare the common thread of challenges on disaster issues faced by all the BRICS nations. The member nations agreed to move away from relief-centric to a holistic approach to disasters with a greater emphasis on prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The roadmap for implementation of three-year joint action plan (JAP) for BRICS emergency services (2016-18) was also finalized. The JAP had been agreed upon at the first meeting of BRICS ministers for disaster management at St. Petersburg in Russia.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

EU-BRITAIN: on 23 June 2016, Britain voted to end its 43-year old association with the European Union in a landmark referendum. The country voted 52%-48% in favour of ‘Leave’ to become the first member State to exit the 28-nation European Union. Nigel Farage, leader of the euro-sceptic UK Independence Party called for June 23 “to go down in history as independence day.”

TURKEY-ISRAEL: On 27 June 2016, Turkey announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel after a six-year rupture and expressed regret to Russia over the downing of a warplane, seeking to mend strained alliances and ease a sense of isolation on the world stage. The deal with Israel after years of negotiation was a rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East, driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as well as mutual fears over growing security risks. Relations between Israel and what was once its principle Muslim ally had crumbled after Israeli marines stormed an activist ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and killed 10 Turks on board.

WORLD ECONOMY

India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer, with its oil demand galloping 8.1% in 2015, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy. With demand of 4.1 million barrels per day, India is the third-largest consumer behind US (19.39 million bpd) and China (11.96 million bpd). India accounted for 4.5% of world oil consumption in 2015.

COUNTRY SPECIFIC

BRAZIL: On 31 August 2016, President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift. Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. The 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nose-dive and its political fortunes soured. Rousseff was replaced by her former Vice-President and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who had been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy. Brazil has now impeached two of the four presidents it has elected since returning to democracy in 1985 after two decades of military dictatorship.

RUSSIA: The Russian Parliament has passed the “Yarovaya law”, which are anti-terrorism laws that critics allege compromise on privacy and personal freedoms. The new legislations state that telephone and internet companies must keep all communication records for six months and must also help intelligence agencies to decode encrypted messages. The laws also restrict missionary work to designated areas.

General Knowledge – Awards – June-August 2016

Current General Knowledge for General Awareness Paper of competitive exams

Arjuna Award 2016
Rajat Chauhan (archery), Lalita Babar (athletics), Sourav Kothari (billiards and snooker), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (cricket), Subrata Paul (football), Rani (hockey), VR Raghunath (hockey), Gurpreet Singh (shooting), Apurvi Chandela (shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (table tennis), Vinesh (wrestling), Amit Kumar (wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (para-athletics), Virender Singh (wrestling, deaf).

Ashok Chakra 2016
Havildar Hangpan Dada, 36, who died in Kupwara on 27 May 2016, after killing three terrorists, has been awarded Ashok Chakra 2016. He hailed from Boduria village in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dhyan Chand Award 2016
Satti Geetha (athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (hockey) and Rajendra Prahlad Shelke (rowing).

Dronacharya Award 2016
Dipa Karmakar’s coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), S. Pradeep Kumar (swimming-lifetime) and Mahabir Singh (wrestling-lifetime).

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2015-16
Punjabi University of Patiala has been awarded the trophy.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2016
Olympic medallists P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik; ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who lost a medal by a whisker; and shooter Jitu Rai. This was for the first time the nation’s highest sporting award was conferred on four athletes.

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers for “building a world of genuine solidarity”; Bezwada Wilson (India) for “asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity”. He was born to a dalit family in Kolar Gold Fields township in Karnataka. Although his family had been engaged in manual scavenging for generations, he was spared the labour to be the first in his family to pursue higher education. Treated as an outcast in school and acutely aware of his family’s lot, he was filled with great anger, but he channelled this anger to a crusade to eradicate manual scavenging; Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia), for “redefining the landscape of zakat-based philanthropy in Indonesia, unleashing the potential of the Islamic faith to uplift, irrespective of their creed, the lives of millions”. Zakat (“charity”) is the obligatory tax on an adult Muslim’s wealth, that is dedicated every year to helping the poor and needy. DD’s (short for “Dompet Dhuafa”) economic projects have included building public facilities, support for small and medium enterprises, farm production and marketing assistance, a bank providing preferential loans to the poor, and a training-and-support program that has upgraded the capacities of hundreds of microfinance groups in Indonesia;  Conchita Carpio-Morales (Philippines), for “her moral courage and commitment to justice in taking head-on one of the most intractable problems in the Philippines, promoting by her example of incorruptibility, diligence, vision and leadership, the highest ethical standards in public service”; Vientiane Rescue (Laos), for “its heroic work in saving Laotian lives in a time and place of great need, under the most deprived of circumstances, inspiring by their passionate humanitarianism a similar generosity of spirit in many others”; T.M. Krishna (India), for his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions, breaking barriers of caste and class to unleash what music has to offer not just for some but for all”.