Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: International Highlights

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International Highlights

Russia and Norway sign maritime border agreement

Norway and Russia have agreed on where their Arctic border should be drawn, which could boost offshore exploration.

The two nations have been locked in a dispute over a 175,000 square kilometres area in the Barents Sea for 40 years.


  • WikiLeaks is a whistle-blower website that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks.
  • Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its director.
  • WikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation Dont Ask, Dont Tell (DADT) law The United States Senate took a historic step forward as Congress passed a bill to repeal the controversial Dont Ask, Dont Tell (DADT) law, a ban on openly gay persons serving in the US military. World Oral Literature Project The World Oral Literature Project is an urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures (including Indian languages) before they disappear without record. It was started by researchers at University of Cambridge January 2009.
  • The need: Globalisation and rapid socio-economic change exert complex pressures on smaller communities, often eroding expressive diversity and transforming culture through assimilation to more dominant ways of life

U. N. Norms on Disappearances

  • The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance enters into force on December 23,2010 marking the end of a long struggle to get enough number of countries to ratify the convention to make it a legal instrument.
  • Iraq was the 20th country that ratified this international treaty.
  • As many as 88 countries have signed the convention but only 21 have ratified it.
  • India and Maldives signed the convention on February 6,2007. New START
  • New START (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a bilateral nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian.
  • It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev. It is a follow-up to the 1991 START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, and to START II and the 2002 Treaty of Moscow (SORT) , which was due to expire in December 2012.
  • Status: Recently ratified by both.
  • START III (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a proposed bi-lateral nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and Russia. However, negotiations broke down and the treaty was never signed.
  • The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) is a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments. It aims to reinvigorate international efforts on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, in the context of both the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and beyond:

ESPO Pipeline

  • The Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO) is a pipeline system to export Russian crude oil to the Asia-Pacific markets (Japan, China, and Korea) .
  • Once completed it will be world s longest oil pipeline.

Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.

The campaign specifically targets billionaires and was made public in 2010 by the two wealthiest men in the

United States, billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

After 19 years, India elected to U. N. Security Council

India secured the backing of 187 of the 191 member states in the General Assembly. One member abstained from the vote. The position will help the country push more aggressively for the Security Council reforms.

  • There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 elected non-permanent members with two-year terms.
  • Non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly (by two-third majority after being chosen by regional groups) for two-year terms starting on 1 January, with five replaced each year.
  • Blockwise:
  • African-3
  • Latin America and the Caribbean-2
  • Asian-2
  • Western European and Others-2
  • Eastern European-1
  • (Note: One of these members is an Arab country, alternately from the Asian or African bloc.)
  • No. Of elected (non-permanent) members, raised in 1966 from six but permanent members are fixed since inception, 1944.
  • Starting from 1950, India so far has been elected to the Security Council for seven times including the current 2010 − 2012 term.

IMF Quota Change

  • India will improve its rank by three notches to the 8th position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) , as the group of 20 nations (G − 20) decided to increase the quota of emerging markets in the multi-lateral lending agency by over 6 per cent.
  • The quota share (of India in IMF) will improve to about 2.75 per cent (from the present level of 2.44 per cent) .
  • China may leapfrog Germany, France and Britain in the funds power rankings, with its quota share rising to 6.19 percent from previous 3.65 percent. Asian Peoples Solidarity for Palestine (APSP) AsiatoGaza is a movement that intends to break the illegal siege of Gaza in a peaceful manner. AsiatoGaza consists of non governmental organizations as well as people from various Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE and various religions like Muslims, Christian, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists.
  • In coordination with other activists all over the world, AsiatoGaza has arranged a caravan from India to Gaza with the participation of several Asian countries. This caravan will start in first week of December 2010 from India through Pakistan, Iran to Turkey and from Turkey toward Gaza.

Bushehr Plant

It is a Russian-built nuclear power plant in Iran, south-east of the city of Bushehr, along the Persian Gulf. It is the first nuclear power plant built in the Middle East. Contractors from Germanys Siemens began work on the

Bushehr plant in the 1970s.

Current status: Iran began fuelling the reactor core despite USAs uneasiness.

IAEA Nuclear Fuel Bank Plan

  • The plan was adopted by IAEA governing body, of which India is a member, by 28 − 0 with six abstentions. India voted for the resolution, which is intended to provide fuel to countries accepting full scope safeguards international inspections on all their nuclear activities.
  • This means India, along with the five official nuclear weapons states as defined by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, will be ineligible to draw on the bank. So will Pakistan and Israel and, presumably, North Korea, until it reverses its withdrawal from the NPT.
  • India would like to participate as a supplier state in such initiatives.
  • Unlike the 2009 Russian proposal on a fuel bank India abstained from voting on it the latest IAEA resolution does not require recipient countries to abjure enrichment activities of their own.
  • the right of any member state to carry out research and development on nuclear fuel cycles for peaceful purposes should not be affected by these arrangements.
  • Nonaligned countries such as Brazil, Egypt and South Africa have tended to view Western-sponsored proposals for a nuclear fuel bank as an instrument to deny them the right to pursue their own enrichment programmes.
  • A nuclear fuel bank is a proposed approach to provide countries access to enriched nuclear fuel, without the need for them to possess enrichment technology.
  • The concept of providing an assured supply of nuclear fuel and thus avoiding the need for countries to build indigenous nuclear fuel production capability has long been proposed as a way to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons and, eventually, eliminate them altogether.
  • Many non-nuclear-weapon states have been reluctant to embrace any of these proposals for varying reasons.

Attack on Chechnyas Parliament

A daring terrorist attack on Chechnyas Parliament left at least seven people dead and 17 wounded.

The Chechen Republic, or, informally, Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia. It is located in the southeastern part of Europe, in the Northern Caucasus mountains.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR was split into two: The Republic of

Ingushetia and Republic of Chechnya. The latter proclaimed the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which sought independence. Following the First Chechen War with Russia, Chechnya gained de facto independence as the

Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Russian federal control was restored during the Second Chechen War. Since then there has been a systematic reconstruction and rebuilding process, though sporadic fighting continues in the mountains and southern regions of the republic.

First World Statistics Day

On Wednesday, 20th October 2010 (20 − 10 − 2010) the first World Statistics Day was organised to celebrate the many achievements of statistics worldwide. The United Nations had declared October 20 as the World Statistics

Day to highlight the achievements of statistics and to inculcate core values of service, integrity and professionalism in the field.

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) , Kolkata has been observing 29th june, the birth anniversary of its founder, P C Mahalanobis, which was declared as the National Statistics Day by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006.

US, Russia to Join EAS: ASEAN Decision

Washington and Moscow will be invited to attend the annual meetings of the East Asia Summit (EAS) from 2011.

Chinas dam-building spree in its far-west Xinjiang region has triggered concerns in the neighbouring Kazakhstan, where officials say two main rivers have begun to see water-levels recede at an alarming rate. 1, 000th anniversary of Hanoi

Vietnam recently celebrated 1, 000th anniversary of the establishment of the countrys capital city of Hanoi. King

Ly Thai To moved the capital of Vietnam to Hanoi in 1010 and called it Thang Long, or soaring dragon, symbolising the desire for independence after a millennium of Chinese domination.

All-Pakistan Muslim League (APML)

new political party launched by The former Pakistani President, Parvez Musharraf in London.

Germany Celebrates 20 Years of Unity

After World War II, the victorious powers, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union carved defeated

Germany into four sections.

The western sectors were merged on 23 May 1949, to form the Federal Republic of Germany; on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone became the German Democratic Republic (DDR) . They were, mainly outside Germany, informally known as West Germany and East Germany, and the two parts of Berlin as West Berlin and East Berlin.

With the advent of the Cold War, Moscow erected a border between its eastern section and the three western

Allied sections, including the Wall that split Berlin in two.

On October 3,1990, just under a year after the Wall was yanked down in a bloodless revolution, the reunification treaty bringing the two halves of the country together came into effect amid joyful scenes.

Capital: East Berlin

Capital of west Germany: Bohn

Hungary man-made disaster puts Danube countries on alert

At the MAL Zrt aluminium plant near the Hungarian village of Ajka, 165 km south-west of Budapest, a dam restraining highly toxic red sludge ruptured on October 5 after prolonged rain. The sludge is highly alkaline and contains lead; it may also contain the radioactive elements cadmium and cobalt.


al-Shabaab is an islamist insurgent group fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia. As of summer 2010 the group is said to control most of the southern and central parts of Somalia.

Karen people

The Karen or Kayin are a group of ethnic peoples who reside primarily in southern and southeastern Burma (Myanmar) .

Since 2006, an offensive of the Burmese army against the Karen National Union has been going on in Karen State, resulting in the displacement of tens of thousands mostly living in refugee camps on the Thai side of the border.

Super Typhoon Megi

smashed into the northern Philippines recently. It was among the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded.

Huge US-Saudi Arms Deal

The United States has announced one of the largest weapons sales in its history, worth nearly $ 60 billion, to Saudi


The most significant components of the package include 84 F − 15 aircraft, 70 upgrades of existing Saudi F − 15s to a more advanced configuration, 70 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters, 72 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, 36 AH-6i light attack helicopters, and 12 MD-530F light training helicopters.

Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Updates

  • India recently signed Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA)
  • Russia has offered to join the ambitious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, even as it opted out of a project to build a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India.
  • The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAP or TAPI) is a proposed natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
  • India had in April 2008 joined the TAPI project.
  • Unprecedented anger in France Estamos bien en el refugio los 33 (English: We are ok in the refuge, the 33 miners) The red-ink note that confirmed the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine beneath Chiles Atacama desert were alive has been made the copyright of the miner Jose Ojeda, who wrote it.

Think Tank Initiative

The Think Tank Initiative is a multi-donor program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions in the developing world. Managed by Canada s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) . It was e launched in New Delhi on October 30.

Ivory Coast Crisis

The West African country is bracing for a political violence after a disputed presidential election resulted in both incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara claiming victory. Ouattara is backed by the United

Nations and almost all countries around the world as a winner of the Nov. 28 2010 election. The Economic

Community of West African States (ECOWAS) , the main regional grouping, has already threatened to use force to lever Gbagbo out of power. USA also warned for stringent actions.

Ivory Coast is the worlds largest producer and exporter of cocoa, the basis of chocolate.

Nuclear submarine HMS Astute runs aground off Skye.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India

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