Competitive Exams: International Current Affairs 2008 (Part 2 of 2)

What is Russian Georgian Conflict basically (23 August 2008)?

Russia claims to have complied by ceasefire agreements but they are accused of still being present at some checkpoints.

The conflict of Georgia Russia is an anecdote of ethnics, regionalism and economic dominance. The issue has come under global limelight again due to the war but the hostilities are since long back. The issue has been cooking up since much before:

But in short, before the fall of the former USSR, South Ossetia was actually a part of Georgia which came under USSR. After the collapse of communism and Russia broke, these became independent countries.

The tension is due to the exertion of political dominance by Georgia over South Ossetia which South Ossetia does not like. Another region Abkhazia which too has the same tension with Georgia too is the cause of this Russia Georgia war.

On Nov 10 1989, the South Ossetia applied for autonomy to the Georgian Supreme Soviet. It had also been granted, but later what irked Ossetia was that the Georgian Supreme Soviet adopted a law barring regional parties in summer 1990. Ossetia took it as move against its concerns and repudiated Georgia's official status over it by proclaiming South Ossetia a Soviet Democratic Republic. Ossetians also boycotted subsequent Georgian parliamentary elections and held their own contest in December. In turn, Georgia declared this election illegitimate and abolished South Ossetia's autonomous completely in 11th December 1990. The fresh waves of hostility swept due to this between South Ossetia and Georgia.

Territorial tensions upon migration by natives. One event in turn lead to another, heightening hostility and bloodshed and large scale violence. Due to this violence, Georgians and Ossetians began migrating to other places for safety. This further created tension over territorial areas when Ossetians moved to settle in North Ossetia. This was objected by Ingush as the place had been their former territory before being expelled from there by Stalin. So the arrival of Ossetians at their former place infuriated the Ingush.

In the midst of all this hullabaloo, Georgia signed cease fire with Russia to avoid further escalation of situation. It also confirmed of not imposing of any sanctions against South Ossetia. Howerer the spark remained as Georgia still has control over much regions of South Ossetia including important town of Akhalgori.

To keep the matter from getting uneven, a peacekeeping force of Russians, Ossetians and Georgians was established.

The Incidents leading to attack by Georgia on Ossetia and Russia's backlash.

In spite of ceasefire deal on August 13 2008, incidents like smuggling hostage takings, shootouts and bombing occassionally deteriorated the stability as claimed by Georgia and this one of the basic reason of its immediate attack on South Ossetia on 7th of August 2008 which has made headlines worldwide. Incidents such as passing resolution in support of South Ossetian secessionists by Russia, closure of important market hampering Russia's trade by Georgia's side, closure of highway in retaliation between Russia and Georgia by South Ossetians to hamper Georgia, all this made more reason for Russia to take a plunge into the war against Georgia.

Russia's and Georgia's Blame on each other.

Also Russia blamed Georgia of killing Russian peacekeepers and doing ethnic cleansing of natives in South Ossetia. Since many of the 70, 000 people in South Ossetia speak Russian and have Russian passports. Russia thinks it needs to reassert its influence over its immediate borders here that is Georgia and South Ossetia and set things right. Georgia accuses Russia in toppling the government and causing to get regime change.

As of now the cease fire has taken place and Russian troops have withdrawn after the intervention of France in particular to negotiate. Russian military action was also condemned by the United States and other NATO countries to which Georgia has affinity inspite of not being NATO member.

Though all these are apparent reasons for war but the actual and internal motives still linger around economic superiority, proposed long term economic and business plans which either country would like to take advantage of:

Safeguards pact endorsed by IAEA chief (1 August 2008)

The primary inspection plan for India met safeguards standards. Talks have begun on a mode of extended checks, prospects for enhancing Indo-US nuclear deal.

A condition set for the Indo-Us nuclear deal to be carried forward was the approval of the inspection plans based on his recommendations. When the International Atomic Energy Agency governers gave a consent on this, India would now seek a waiver from 45 nuclear supplier nations to allow trading with a non NPt countries. After this US Congress would consent to finalise the final deal. Futher pros and cons are underway for full fledged implementations.

Pakistan demands nuclear status (31 July 2008)

After the Indo-US nuclear deal in formation, Pakistan also exerted its right to be granted nuclear status. Mohammed Sadiq, spokesperson for Pakistan Foreign Office showed concern for the national security and expressed that the government of Pakistan would do all within its ability to secure it.

In the context, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has shown Pakistan new proofs of the links between country's spy service and some militant groups. The violence in Afganistan is linked to this factor.

Iraq Ban lifted by IOC (30 July 2008)

International Olympic Committee has relented and permitted Iraq to take part in the Olympics. IOC has lifted the ban on Iraqi atheletes for the beijing olympics. After the IOC had meeting with the Iraqi officials in Switzerland, the IOC revised their decision and now the athletes will be able to take part in the Olympics in Beijing next month.

Bush a total failure says Pelosi (18 July 2008)

The first woman speaker of the United States Nancy Pelosi has been a sharp critic of the American President. With her timely outpour of complete dissatisfaction over his policies in various interviews, she, yet again, came out with a highly frustrated tone. It was a backlash after two days to the President's criticism in which he talked having just 26 legislative days in hand in the fiscal year. Bush said that Congress would require every other day to get its work done in this span of time. It wasn't a matter of pride Bush commented.

In the interview, the Nancy Pelosi ruled out the President's validity on such comments citing reason of him that of having no ideas. She also remarked that he was in no position to criticize the Congress.

Meanwhile Pelosi's comments came when Congress approval was all time low in 30 years. Pelosi linked the cause of this to Congress ‘failure in ending the Iraq war. She highly disapproved of congress’ working in ceasing the war.

Again opposed to the President's favoring for offshore drilling for oil and opening up areas like Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil exploration, Pelosi has strongly taken a stand against it. In retrospect to this, 73 percent of poll has shown favor in this regard. The bottom line of her disapproval is due to the apparent non exhaustion of federal areas leased beforehand for approval in drilling. That should be in focus rather than venturing for new avenues for oil exploration, she meant.

Iran test fires more missiles (10th July 2008)

In continuation of the previous exercises, Iran test fired further missiles on Thursday, prompting United States to take steps to build anti missile defence setup.

G − 8 leaders mention of countering global warming (9rd July 2008)

G − 8 leaders of the world's major economies pledged to combat climate change without highlighting specific steps in that regard. The leaders unanimously agreed to cut the greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050.

The G − 8 countries which make up Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States and the other countries that are South Korea, Mexico European Union, India, South Africa Australia, Brazil, China, and Indonesia.

Betancourt and 14 others get freedom (3rd July 2008)

After being in captivity for more than 6 years, the former Columbian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt along with three US contractors and 11 others got freedom. The rescue operation took on Wednesday by Colombian military force. This was reported by Juan Manuel Santos the defence minister.

The revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) kidnapped Ingrid Betancourt on February 23rd 2002. She is reported to be in fine health. Also when the plane carrying the three contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves crashed in southern Columbia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia kidnapped them and were held hostage. The three hostages were under the contract with the US Department of Defence and were working against anti-drug tasks in Columbia. FARC had plans to exchange Betancourt, the three US citizens as scores of military and police personnel for FARC rebels in prison. The FARC have been outwitted and have lost three of their members including their Boss in recent time.

UN Condemns Zimbabwean government (24, June 2008).

United Nations has condemned the Zimbabwean government because of its inefficiency in controlling the violence in the election campaign. The UN raised its doubts on smooth facilitation of such elections in such circumstances. But inspite of that Mugabe's governenment which is incumbent, is confident of holding elections on 27th.

No immediate solution of high oil prices (24, June 2008).

The United States has expressed hopelessness in lessening of the oil prices in short time. In the white house release statement, the government has expressed possibility in the increase of the oil production within that country. Though the statement also mentioned of the efforts in bringing down the fuel demand in taking control of other measures, still, there is a lookout for ways to increase domestic production in United States. In the same time Saudi Government has plans to increase its oil output.

Saudi Arabia will increase its oil production (16th June 2008).

Saudi Arabia has decided to increase its oil production by 200, 000 barrels per day from next month. This was told by Kingdom's oil minister to U. N. Chief Ban Ki-moon according to Ban's spokesman. On meeting with Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi U. N. Chief was disclosed of this decision.

Rise in Oil Prices (6, June 2008)

Oil price have caught the headlines recently due their increased prices. Analysts reason out the increase in prices due to various factors. Some reasons are due to political tensions circulation around middle east countries. The deteriorating condition of Iraq, terror attack in Saudi Arabia, all make impact. The change in supply limit due to speculations on the demand for oil too pave way for a price change. OPEC decided to reduce its production limit, though not causing scarcity, but nevertheless it did cause tension in developed countries and effected price. As the price of Oil is above $120 a barrel, the price of gas, kerosene, petrol and other petroleum products too has been effected. Due to unavoidable circumstances Oil companies were forced to sell at a loss of millions of pounds a day. Countries too have responded with respect to the global scenario like Malaysia which is a net exporter of Oil has raised fuel prices by 41 percent. It has also dropped subsidies.

The price rise of petrol diesel kerosene all has effected a common man in India and there is a heavy pressure on the democracy to come up with a respite in some way or the other.

2008-International Year of Sanitation (4, Jan 2008)