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Events of International Importance | Books4jobs.


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Events of International Importance |

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Events of International Importance 2016

For UPSC Civil Services Examination

The book is compiled after referring to over 900+

articles from various relevant sources like PIB, The
Hindu, Indian Express and Economic Times and other
important sources.
Events compiled in the book are chosen by keeping in
the mind the requirement of UPSC aspirants in
accordance to the syllabus.
The book is also an ideal choice for State Level Service
Commission, SSC and Banking examination.

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January 2016


February 2016

- 27

March 2016

- 41

April 2016

- 65

May 2016

- 90

June 2016

- 105

July 2016

- 122

August 2016

- 136

September 2016

- 153

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January 2016
1. The first nuclear power plant located in one of Chinas ethnic
autonomous regions has begun commercial operations of its
first reactor that will cut coal burning and CO2 emissions and
can create up to 64,0000 jobs annually.
2. The first reactor of the Fang chenggang Nuclear Power Plant in
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region can supply 24 million
kilowatt-hours of electricity a day, catering to the needs of a
medium-sized city.
3. Based on the domestically developed CPR-1000, the reactor
began generating power in October 2015. The plants second
reactor is expected to begin operating in the second half of
2016, Gong was quoted as saying by the state-run the Global
4. The energy produced by the reactor will also cut coal burning
by 4.82 million tonnes and CO2 emissions by about 11.9 million
tonnes every year.
5. It is also expected to create 64,000 new jobs annually and
contribute 8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) to the local GDP.
6. China has suspended approval of new nuclear programs after
Japans Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and construction
projects did not resume until 2014.
7. China currently has operating capacity of 25.5 million kilowatts
and aims to raise installed nuclear power to 58 million
kilowatts by 2020 in order to reduce pollution from coalburning generators and deliver on its promise to reduce carbon
emissions, the report said.

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1. The Arab League will hold emergency talks at the request of
Saudi Arabia to discuss attacks in Iran on the kingdoms
embassy and consulate, its deputy head said.
2. The weekend talks are aimed at condemning the violations
committed by Iran against the sanctity of the Saudi embassy in
Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.
3. The meeting, which comes after Saudi Arabia broke off ties
with the Islamic republic amid a row over Riyadhs execution of
a Shiite cleric.
4. Tensions have risen between the two oil-rich Gulf rivals after
Saturdays execution in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia of prominent
Shiite cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose death
has sparked fury.
5. He was put to death alongside 46 others, including Shiite
activists and Al-Qaeda-linked militants convicted on charges of


North Korea said it conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb
test on 6 January 2016, a defiant and surprising move that, if
confirmed, would be a huge jump in Pyongyangs quest to
improve its still-limited nuclear arsenal. South Koreas spy
agency and outside nuclear experts cast strong doubt, however,
saying the estimated explosive yield from North Koreas fourth
nuclear explosion was much smaller than what even a failed Hbomb detonation would produce.

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Breach of treaty
Lassina Zerbo, the head of the U.N. Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty Organization which monitors worldwide for nuclear
testing, says if confirmed, the test by North Korea would be a
breach of the treaty and a grave threat to international peace
and security. Mr. Zerbo says in a statement that the
universally accepted norm against nuclear testing has been
respected by 183 countries since 1996.
An artificial quake
South Korean officials said they detected an artificial
earthquake near North Koreas main nuclear testing site. The
U.S Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the seismic
activity at 5.1 on its website. An official from the Korea
Metrological Administration, South Koreas weather agency,
said it believed the earthquake was caused artificially, without
elaborating, and originated 49 kilometres or 30 miles north of
Kilju, the north-eastern area where North Koreas main
nuclear test site is located.North Korea conducted underground
tests to set off nuclear devices in 2006, 2009 and 2013, for
which it has been subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions
banning trade and financing activities that aid its weapons
programme. The test would further North Koreas international
isolation by prompting a push for new, tougher sanctions at the
United Nations and worsening Pyongyangs already bad ties
with Washington and its neighbours.
Will continue to strengthen nuclear programme
In a statement after conducting its fourth nuclear test, North
Koreas state news agency said it will not give up its nuclear
programme as long as the United States maintained what it
called its stance of aggression. North Korea also said it will
act as a responsible nuclear state and vowed not to use its
nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was infringed. It also
said it will not transfer its nuclear capabilities to other parties.
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Japan calls it as significant threat

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned a Hydrogen
bomb test conducted by North Korea, saying the test was a
significant threat. Japan held its National Security Council
meeting immediately after a 5.1-magnitude quake was detected
around 10.30 a.m. (local time) in the northeastern part of North
Korea, Xinhua reported.
France condemns H-bomb testing
France condemned North Koreas reported test of a hydrogen
bomb, calling for a strong reaction from the international
community, President Francois Hollandes office said in a
statement. The statement called the reported test an
unacceptable violation of (U.N.) Security Council resolutions.


1. A German historical institute is launching an annotated edition
of Mein Kampf, the first version of Adolf Hitlers notorious
manifesto to be published in Germany since the end of World
War II.
2. Bavarias state Finance Ministry had previously prevented the
books publication, but its copyright expired 70 years after the
Nazi leaders death.
1. Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is an autobiography by the
National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler, in which he outlines
his political ideology and future plans for Germany.
2. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2
in 1926. The book was edited byHitlers deputy Rudolf Hess.
3. Hitler began dictating the book to Hess while imprisoned for
what he considered to be political crimes following his failed
Putsch in Munich in November 1923.

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4. Although Hitler received many visitors initially, he soon

devoted himself entirely to the book. As he continued, Hitler
realized that it would have to be a two-volume work, with
the first volume scheduled for release in early 1925.
5. The governor of Landsberg noted at the time that he [Hitler]
hopes the book will run into many editions, thus enabling him
to fulfill his financial obligations and to defray the expenses
incurred at the time of his trial.


1. A special session of Sri Lankan Parliament has been scheduled
to debate the amendments moved by opposition parties to the
resolution submitted by the Prime Minister to convert the
Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly to draft a new
constitution for the country.
2. A day after President Sirisena completed one year in office, his
government has moved to fulfill one of his main poll promises
to end the all-powerful executive presidency and reform the
political system.
3. The new constitution that will be drafted by the parliament
sitting as Constitutional Assembly, will replace the 1978
Constitution that brought in Presidential form of government.
Speaker of the current Parliament will be the Chair of the
proposed Constitutional Assembly.
4. The process of drafting a new constitution is to be completed in
six months. The draft will then have to be approved by
Provincial Councils and will also be put to referendum.
5. President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,
who belong to the two major political parties in the country,
have sought the cooperation of all parties with in the drafting

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1. The Supreme Court on 11 January 2016 noted that rape and
sexual offences against infants and girl children below 10 years
of age is nothing but brutal perversion, and asked Parliament
to enact a separate law on child rape and provide rigorous
punishment to the offenders.
2. This is the first time that the apex court has distinguished
between minors and children below 10 years of age. A Bench,
led by Justice Dipak Misra, said Parliament had to separately
define the word child in terms of rape.
3. The pain and distress caused to a child, including infants
as young as 28-days-old, who knows nothing about sex and rape
is nothing but brutal perversion. When a society moves this
way, it has to be stopped, Justice Misra dictated in a written
4. It said Section 376 (i) of the Indian Penal Code only talks of
woman below 16 years of ageand has no specific provision for
girl children below 10 years of age and infants.
5. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said child rape can never be
tolerated and agreed to highlight the courts order to the
government for putting it up before the lawmakers for an
appropriate legislation. This has to be remedied by amending
the Indian Penal Code, the apex court said.


1. Indias diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16
million people from India living outside their country in 2015,
according to a latest UN survey on international migrant
2. The survey conducted by the UN Department of Economic and
Social Affairs (DESA) said the number of international
migrants persons living in a country other than where they
were born reached 244 million in 2015 for the world as a
whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000.

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3. The 2015 Revision, nearly two thirds of international migrants

live in Europe (76 million) orAsia (75 million), according to the
Trends in International Migrant Stock.
4. The rise in the number of international migrants reflects the
increasing importance of international migration, which has
become an integral part of our economies and societies, said
Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and
Social Affairs. Well-managed migration brings important
benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to
migrants and their families,.
Indias Position
1. India has the largest diaspora in the world, followed by Mexico
and Russia.
2. In 2015, 16 million people from India were living outside of
their country, a growth from 6.7 million in 1990, the survey
stated. Mexicos diaspora population stood at 12 million.
3. Other countries with large diasporas included Russia, China,
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ukraine.
4. Of the twenty countries with the largest number of
international migrants living abroad, 11 were in Asia, 6 in
Europe, and one each in Africa, Latin America and the
Caribbean and Northern America, the survey said.
5. This figure includes almost 20 million refugees. The survey
further said that in 2015, two thirds of all international
migrants were living in only 20 countries, starting with the US,
which hosted 19 per cent of all migrants at 46.6 million,
followed by Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United
Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.
6. India ranked 12th out of these 20 countries, hosting 5.2 million
migrants in 2015, a drop from 7.5 million in 1990.
7. The UN data shows that the number of international migrants
has grown faster than the worlds population.
8. As a result, the share of migrants in the global population
reached 3.3 per cent in 2015, up from 2.8 per cent in 2000.

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Major regions
1. Two out of three international migrants in 2015 lived in Europe
or Asia, the survey said, adding that nearly half of all
international migrants worldwide were born in Asia.
2. Among major regions of the world, Northern America hosts the
third largest number of international migrants, followed
by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and
Oceania. Between 2000 and 2015, Asia added more
international migrants than any other major region, or a total
of 26 million additional migrants.
Agenda for Sustainable Development
1. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by
world leaders last September at the United Nations, stresses
the multidimensional reality of migration. The Agenda calls
2. The Agenda calls on countries to implement planned and wellmanaged migration policies, eradicate human
trafficking, respect the labour rights of migrant
workers and reduce the transaction costs of migrant
3. The Agenda also highlights the vulnerability of
migrants, refugees and IDPs and emphasizes forced
displacement and related humanitarian crises threaten to
reverse much of the development progress made in recent


1. Among Asian countries, India continues its trend of being the
top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers to
the US, says a latest report, adding that with 950,000 out of
Asias total 2.96 million, Indias 2013 figure represented an 85
percent increase from 2003.

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2. Overall, the number of immigrant scientists and engineers in

the US has risen to 18 percent from an earlier 16 percent and
57 percent of those were born in Asia.
Scientists and engineers immigrant
1. From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers
residing in the US rose from 21.6 million to 29 million.
2. This 10-year increase included significant growth in the
number of immigrant scientists and engineers, from 3.4 million
to 5.2 million, said the report from the National Science
Foundations National Centre for Science and Engineering
Statistics (NCSES).
3. In 2013, 63 percent of US immigrant scientists and engineers
were naturalised citizens, while 22 percent were permanent
residents and 15 percent were temporary visa holders.
Other regions
1. Also since 2003, the number of scientists and engineers from
the Philippines increased 53 percent and the number from
China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased 34 percent,
the report added.
2. The NCSES report found that immigrant scientists and
engineers were more likely to have earned post-baccalaureate
degrees than their US-born counterparts. In 2013, 32 percent of
immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a
masters (compared to 29 percent of US-born counterparts) and
9 percent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 percent of
US-born counterparts).
3. The most common fields of study for immigrant scientist and
engineers in 2013 were engineering, computer and
mathematical sciences and social and related sciences, the
findings showed.
4. Over 80 percent of immigrant scientists and engineers were
employed in 2013, the same percentage as their US-born
5. Among the immigrants in the science and engineering
workforce, the largest share (18 percent) worked in computer
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and mathematical sciences, while the second-largest share

(eight percent) worked in engineering.
6. Three occupations life scientist, computer and mathematics
scientist and social and related scientist saw substantial
immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013, the report
7. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent
federal agency that supports fundamental research and
education across all fields of science and engineering.


1. The World Health Organisation declared an end to the
deadliest Ebola outbreak ever on 14 January 2016 after no new
cases emerged in Liberia, though health officials warn that it
will be several more months before the world is considered free
of the disease that claimed more than 11,300 lives over two
2. Some 17,000 survivors are trying to resume their lives though
many battle mysterious, lingering side effects.
Studies will continue
1. Studies continue to uncover new information about how long
Ebola can last in bodily fluids. Liberia, which along with Sierra
Leone and Guinea was an epicenter of the latest outbreak,
was first declared free of the disease last May, but new cases
emerged two times forcing officials there to restart the clock.
2. Thats because there is still ongoing risk of re-emergence of the
disease because of persistence of the virus in a proportion of
3. In Liberia, there was guarded optimism about reaching the 42day benchmark with no new cases. The Ministry of Health is
still carrying out Ebola tests on dead bodies before burial, and
remains on the lookout for any suspicious cases.

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When did Ebola start?

The current outbreak in West Africa, (first cases notified in
March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak
since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have
been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others
How long does it take to die from Ebola?
Symptoms of Ebola virus disease. The incubation period, that
is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of
symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they
develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of
fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
Where is the Ebola virus found?
There have been 33 Ebola outbreaks since 1976, but the 2014
outbreak in West Africa is by far the largest. The virus has
infected thousands of people and killed more than half of them.
It started in Guinea and spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and
What is the cause of Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare
and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola
virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and
nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family
Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus.

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1. United Kingdom took a giant step in space exploration on 16
January 2016 after astronaut Tim Peake became the first
Briton to walk in space.
2. Peake had successfully launched into space on December 15,
becoming the first Briton to undertake a long duration mission
on the International Space Station.
3. This is the pinnacle of my career. I will have a few moments
where Ill just be hanging beneath the airlock and I can have a
look around, look down on planet Earth and see what that feels
like, said Major Peake.
4. Tims six-month mission, named Principia will see him carry
out unique space projects, while being a test subject for health


1. Indias Anuradha Roy has won the DSC Prize for South Asian
Literature 2016 for her novel, sleeping on Jupiter, which deals
with the subject of violence against women.
2. At the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Galle, about 130 km
south of Colombo, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe on Saturday presented her the prize, which
carried a cash award of $50,000 and a trophy, according to a
3. Mark Tully, chair of the jury, said: We chose Sleeping on
Jupiter by Anuradha Roybecause of its elegance, flair and
4. It raises many issues succinctly and with commendable
economy of words. Other authors and novels in contention for
this years prize were: Akhil Sharma (Family Life); K.R. Meera
(Hangwoman) [translated by J. Devika]; Mirza Waheed (The
Book of Gold Leaves), Neel Mukherjee (The Lives of
Others) and Raj Kamal Jha (She Will Build Him A City). Now
in its sixth edition, the DSC Prize received 74 entries this time
with participation from publishers from the South Asian
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region as well as from countries such as the U.K., U.S., Canada,

Australia and South Africa.


1. French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of
economic and social emergency to redefine Frances economic
and social model.
2. In an annual speech to business leaders in Paris, he unveiled a
2-billion-euro plan to revive hiring and catch up with the fastmoving world economy.
3. He said, the proposed measures are relatively modest, and they
would not put into question the 35-hour workweek. With his
country, under a state of emergency since terror attacks in
November, Mr Hollande did not seek to assume any new
emergency powers over the economy.
4. The French President laid out plans for training half a million
jobless workers, greater use of apprenticeships, and aid for
companies that hire young workers. Hollandes Socialist
government has struggled to boost long-stagnant French
growth or reduce chronic unemployment, which has been
around 10 per cent for years.


1. The Government of India has approved the establishment of
two National Centres of Ageing-one each at All India Institute
of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and Madras Medical
College, Chennai under the tertiary level component of
National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE)
during the 12th Five Year Plan Period.
2. Both the National Centres of Ageing are expected to be Centres
of Excellence in the field of Geriatric Care in the country.

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3. The functions of the National Centres will be (i) Health care

delivery; (ii) Training of health professionals; (iii) Research
activities along with 200 bedded in-patient services.
4. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between
AIIMS, New Delhi and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
in the presence of Shri B.P. Sharma, Secretary, Department of
Health and Family Welfare and Dr. M.C. Mishra, Director,
AIIMS, New Delhi. Dr. A.B. Dey, Professor and Head,
Department of Geriatric Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi signed on
behalf of AIIMS.
5. Another MOU was also signed today between Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; Department
of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu and
Madras Medical College, Chennai.


1. Political leaders and business from around the world are
starting an annual World Economic Forum meeting today in
the Swiss resort of Davos.
2. The agenda includes the outlook of the global economy and
measures to fight terrorism. Leaders from about 40 countries
and more than 2,500 business people are attending the
3. The 4-day conference will cover the tumbling price of oil and
Chinas uncertain economic prospects.
4. Another topic will be growing terror threats in the wake of the
November attacks in Paris. Europes influx of migrants and
refugees will also be on the agenda.
5. Participants will also review the latest efforts to improve
industrial production with robotics, artificial intelligence and
information technology. Environmental issues such as
greenhouse gas emissions will also be on the agenda.

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1. France will seek to keep its state of emergency until a total and
global war against so-called Islamic State (IS) is over, Prime
Minister Manuel Valls has told the BBC.
2. The measures were introduced after the IS-led Paris attacks on
13 November and then extended for three months.
3. Such a move gives police more power to conduct raids and
impose house arrests. Mr Valls said France was at war, which
meant using all means in our democracy under the rule of law
to protect French people.
4. When asked how long he envisaged the state of emergency
remaining, Mr Valls said The time necessary. We cannot
always live all the time in a state of emergency.
5. Mr Valls also warned that Europes migration crisis was now
putting the European Union itself at grave risk. German
Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to hold talks with Turkish
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Berlin


1. The Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency
International (TI) has put India at rank 76 out of 168 countries
in its latest Corruption Perception Index. The countrys 2015
corruption perception score remains the same as last years
38/100 showing lack of improvement. India shares its rank
along with six other countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Thailand,
Tunisia and Zambia.
2. China fared worse than India and Brazil at rank 83 with a
score of 37. TI has also noted that Pakistan is the only country
among the SAARC countries, to have improved its score this
year, though its rank remains poor at 117. Major scandals such
as the one in Brazils state oil giant Petrobras involving
massive kick-backs have resulted in the country's rankings
plunging sharply this year. Graft allegations surrounding
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has also been cited as
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an instance of why that country scored poorly at 50 over its last

years score of 52.
While Nordic countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden
topped the chart with their clean public sectors as in previous
years, strife-torn or repressive states Afghanistan, North
Korea and Somalia form the bottom rung of the CPI ladder.
Interestingly, the report also points out that many clean
countries such as Denmark Finland, Sweden, Norway and
Netherlands have dodgy records elsewhere.
It cites Sweden as an instance. While the country comes third
in the index, the Swedish-Finnish firm TeliaSonera 37 per
cent owned by the Swedish state is facing allegations that it
paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in
Uzbekistan, which comes in at 153rd in the index. The
company is now pulling out of business in Central Asia.
But Sweden isnt the only clean country to be linked to dodgy
behaviour overseas, the TI website reports. Their research
shows that half of all OECD countries are violating their
international obligations to crack down on bribery by their
companies abroad.


Marking a "historic" change at IMF, India, China and other
emerging economies will now have more voting rights at the
multilateral funding agency with the implementation of long
pending quota reforms.
For the first time, the four emerging economies -- India China,
Brazil and Russia -- would be among the 10 largest members of
the International Monetary Fund.
Besides, more than 6 per cent of quota shares would shift to
dynamic emerging markets and developing countries.
It would also mark the shift in shares from over-represented to
under-represented IMF members.
The much-awaited quota reforms, pending for many years,
were approved by the US Congress in 2015.
The 2010 Quota and Governance reforms were approved by the
IMF's Board of Governors in December 2010.
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In a statement, IMF said the conditions for implementing its

14th General Quota Review, "which delivers historic and farreaching changes to the governance and permanent capital of
the Fund, have now been satisfied".
"The reforms also increase the financial strength of the IMF, by
doubling its permanent capital resources to SDR 477 billion
(about USD 659 billion)." Currently, India has voting rights of
2.34 per cent at the IMF, which has 188 members. In terms of
quota, India has a share of 2.44 per cent.
Others in the top 10 largest members are the US, Japan,
France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Noting that the reforms would reinforce its credibility,
effectiveness and legitimacy, IMF said that for the first time its
Board would consist entirely of elected Executive Directors.
This would do away with the category of appointed Executive
Directors -- currently members with the five largest quotas
appoint an Executive Director.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said these reforms
would ensure that the fund is able to better meet and represent
the needs of its members in a rapidly changing global


For the last four quarters, India has been the fastest growing
large economy in the world.
In 2014-15, India contributed 7.4% of global GDP in purchasing
power terms. But it contributed 12.5% of global growth.
Thus its contribution to growth is 68% higher than its share of
the global economy. FDI in India has increased by 39% in the
last 18 months, at a time when global FDI has fallen.
But a countrys contribution goes beyond economics. Protecting
our planet from climate change is one of the most important
tasks for this generation. If one country reduces its
environmental footprint, it creates benefits for all others.
It is for this reason that in the COP 21 Summit, India made far
reaching commitments towards the larger welfare of the planet.

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In history, every country that has grown has increased its per
capita emissions footprint. We are committed to re-writing that
We are committed to reducing the emission intensity of
our GDP by 33% by 2030 even while growing at a fast pace.
For a country which is already at a very low base of per capita
emission, this is a very ambitious target. We have committed
that by 2030, 40% of our electric power capacity will be from
non-fossil fuel.
We have also committed to building an additional carbon sink
of over 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
This will be done by creating additional forest cover by 2030.
This commitment is from a country with very low per capita
land availability.
We have taken the lead in launching an international solar
alliance, involving 121 countries falling between the Tropic of
Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
This initiative will help many developing countries, from Africa
to South America, to take advantage of developments in
renewable energy around the world.
Interesting Facts
Indias highest ever urea fertiliser production was achieved in
Indias highest ever production of ethanol as blended fuel,
benefiting sugar cane farmers, was in 2015.
The highest number of new cooking gas connections to the rural
poor was achieved in 2015.
Indias highest ever output of coal was achieved in 2015.
Indias highest ever generation of electricity was achieved in
Indias highest ever quantity of cargo handled by major ports
was in 2015.
Indias fastest average turnaround time in ports was in 2015.
Indias highest ever increase in railway capital expenditure was
achieved in 2015.
Indias highest ever number of new highway kilometres
awarded was in 2015.
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Indias highest ever production of motor vehicles was achieved

in 2015
Indias highest ever software exports were achieved in 2015.
Indias highest ever rank in World Bank Doing Business
indicators, was achieved in 2015.
Indias highest ever foreign exchange reserves were achieved in
In 2013-14, India accounted for just 0.1% of global demand for
energy efficient LED lighting. In 2015-16, it is 12%. Indian
LED bulbs are now the cheapest and most competitive in the
world, costing less than a dollar versus a global average of 3
In 2013-14, India commissioned 947 megawatts of solar power
In 2015-16, this will rise to over 2500 megawatts.
It is expected to reach 12,000 megawatts in 2016-17. Indias
share of the global solar energy market will rise from 2.5% in
2014 to 18% in 2016. Indias contribution here is not merely in
increasing the share of clean energy.
Its other contribution is that the huge increase in scale has
enabled producers to cut prices benefitting the whole world.
In 2013-14, 16,800 kilometres of transmission lines were
added. In 2014-15 this rose to over 22,000, an increase of 32%.
In the power sector as a whole, the cost of power has declined
by over 30%.
Our country suffers from an excess of old and unnecessary
laws which obstruct people and businesses.
We began the exercise of identifying unnecessary laws and
repealing them. 1,827 Central laws have been identified for
Out of these, 125 have already been repealed. Bills for
repealing another 758 have been passed by the Lok Sabha and
are awaiting the approval of the Upper House.
New future for a new India:
An India where every child is born safely and maternal and
infant mortality are below world averages,
An India where no person is houseless,
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An India where every town and every village, every school and
every train, every street and every house, are clean and
An India where every citizen has access to good health care,
An India where every village has 24x7 electricity,
An India where every city is vibrant and livable,
An India where girls are educated and empowered,
An India where every boy and every girl is skilled and ready for
productive employment,
An India where agriculture, industry and services provide wellpaying jobs to all who need them,
An India where farmers know the nature of their soil, have the
best inputs and reach global levels of productivity,
An India where enterprises, large and small, have access to
capital and credit,
An India where start-ups and other businesses provide
innovative solutions,
An India which is at the forefront of a global digital economy,
An India which leads the world in clean energy,
An India where every citizen has basic social security and a
pension in old age,
An India where citizens trust Government and are trusted by
And above all, a transformed India where all citizens have the
opportunity to reach their full potential.


The head of the U.N. nuclear test ban treaty organisation says
archenemies Iran and Israel are the closest of the eight
holdout nations to ratifying the treaty and assuring the world
they will never conduct a nuclear test explosion.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, known as the
CTBT, has 196 member states 183 that have signed the treaty
and 164 that have ratified it.
But the treaty has not entered into force because it still
needs ratification by eight countries that had nuclear power
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reactors or research reactors when the U.N. General Assembly

adopted the treaty in 1996
The United
States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North
A nuclear test-free zone is an achievable step toward the much
more difficult goal of establishing a nuclear-weapons-free-zone
in the Middle East.
Arab nations have been calling for a nuclear-free zone since the
mid-1990s but efforts to hold a conference to discuss the
possibility have failed.
One key issue has been differences with Israel, which is widely
believed to have an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons but
has avoided confirming or denying their existence.
But if Israel, Iran and Egypt ratify the CTBT, Mr. Zerbo said
this will put pressure on the United States to ratify as well.
President Barack Obama wants to ratify the treaty, he said,
but his hands are tied by the Republican-controlled Senate.
China wont ratify before the United States, India wont ratify
before China, and Pakistan wont ratify before India which
means U.S. action is also crucial.
North Korea, the only country to test nuclear weapons in the
21st century, is least likely of the eight key countries to ratify
the CTBT.

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February 2016
1. Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods is the theme
for World Wetlands Day in 2016. This theme is selected to
demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the future of
humanity and specifically their relevance towards achieving
the new Sustainable Development Goals.
2. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February.
This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on
Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on
the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since 1997, the Ramsar
Secretariat provides outreach materials to help raise public
awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
3. Since its inception, the production and distribution of materials
for World Wetlands Day have been financially supported by the
Evian Project funded by the Danone Group.


1. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the world's biggest
multinational trade deals, was signed by 12 member nations in
New Zealand, but the massive trade pact will still require years
of tough negotiations before it becomes a reality.
2. The TPP, a deal which will cover 40 percent of the world
economy, has already taken five years of negotiations to reach
signing stage.
3. The signing is "an important step" but the agreement "is still
just a piece of paper, or rather over 16,000 pieces of paper until
it actually comes into force," said New Zealand Prime Minister
John Key at the ceremony in Auckland.
4. The TPP will now undergo a two-year ratification period in
which at least six countries - that account for 85 per cent of the
combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP nations must approve the final text for the deal to be implemented.

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5. The 12 nations include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile,

Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the
United States and Vietnam.
6. Given their size, both the United States and Japan would need
to ratify the deal, which will set common standards on issues
ranging from workers' rights to intellectual property protection
in 12 Pacific nations.
7. Opposition from many U.S. Democrats and some Republicans
could mean a vote on the TPP is unlikely before President
Barack Obama, a supporter of the TPP, leaves office early in
8. There is wide spread grassroots opposition to the TPP in many
countries. Opponents have criticised the secrecy surrounding
TPP talks, raised concerns about reduced access to things like
affordable medicines, and a clause which allows foreign
investors the right to sue if they feel their profits have been
impacted by a law or policy in the host country.


1. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who became the sixth man
on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover
from Apollo 13s successful failure has died in Florida. He was
2. Mitchell, one of only 12 humans to set foot on the moon, was
not a typical strait-laced astronaut. In later years, he said
aliens visited Earth and faith healers were legitimate. He
attempted to communicate telepathically with friends at home
during his Apollo mission. He had an epiphany in space that
focused him on studying consciousness, physics and other

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1. The day celebrates the radio as a medium to improve
international cooperation between broadcasters. The theme for
this year is 'Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster.
2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted radio lovers on the
ocassion of World Radio Day. In his message today, Mr Modi
said, Radio is a beautiful means of communication that has
touched several lives through the years. He said, his Mann ki
Baat experience on All India Radio has been special. The Prime
Minister said, it has deepend his bond with people.
3. The two-day annual international radio fair Outreach
International Radio Fair-2016 will begin in Bhubaneswar to
mark the day. Minister of State for Information and
Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Petroleum Minister
Dharmendra Pradhan and many other radio journalists are
scheduled to attend the event.
4. On the ocassion of World Radio Day, the News Services
Division of All India Radio invites its listeners to express their
radio-story on offical AIR news Twitter and Facebook accounts.
You are requested to use hashtag#ThankYouRadio for posting
your comments. At our twitter handle @airnewsalerts, you can
also post your comment on our official Facebook page All India
Radio News.


1. Fiji has become the first country in the world to formally
approve the UN climate deal agreed by 195 nations in Paris in
2. The nations parliament unanimously agreed to a motion
proposed by the countrys attorney general Aiyaz Sayed
Khaiyum who said that the parliament would need to ratify the
treaty ahead of a signing ceremony in April.
3. The agreement intends to stabilise the increase in the global
average temperature. It needs 55 signatories in order to take
effect, though experts are confident it will be passed.
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4. As per media reports, Fiji has pledged an unconditional 10 per

cent emissions cut by 2030, or a 30 per cent emissions cut
dependant on international support.
5. The island nation also included an additional target of using
100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030.
6. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 at the
Conference of Parties (COP-21) by 200 countries. It introduced
a model of voluntary nationally determined contributions by
governments and a framework to ensure better international
cooperation to prevent climate change.


1. United States President Barack Obama has signed off on new
sanctions against North Korea to punish the reclusive Asian
nation for its provocative recent nuclear test and rocket launch.
2. The White House said Mr Obama signed measures passed by
the Congress, tightening sanctions on anyone importing goods
or technology related to weapons of mass destruction into North
Korea, or anyone who knowingly engaged in human rights
3. Pyongyang shocked the world last month and earned a global
rebuke when it announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen


China appears focused on rapidly developing an ecosystem for
electric vehicles, which includes a surge of charging points on
its expressways and a hi-tech manufacturing upgrade.
Some of the countrys top rated expressways, including the
Beijing to Shanghai corridor and the Beijing to Macau link via
Hong Kong will host charging stations every 50 kilometers. The
government-owned State Grid Corporation says that its present
move is part of an ambitious plan.
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By 2020, the company hopes to build 10,000 rapid charging

stations and 120,000 charging posts across 202 cities and
36,000 kilometer of expressways. Aware of the herculean task,
the firm issued a statement on Friday, inviting private and
public investors to join it as partners.
Electric vehicles are part of the vanguard of Chinas
innovation-based new normal economy, which is meant to
combat the slowdown in its low-tech manufacturing and drop in
Chinas State Council or Cabinet wants one million green cars
to hit the domestic market by 2020. Over the next five years
after that market share should jump to 80 per cent, when three
million electric vehicles are produced, according to plans.
High speed trains, robotics, manufacture of computer numeric
control (CNC) machines, bio-medicine, aerospace industry,
ocean engineering and shipping are other focal areas that are
meant to lift the Chinese economy to the next level.
The establishment of the massive infrastructure, which will
energise Chinas highways and cities, will not come cheap. The
state-run newspaper, China Daily, reported that a charging
post with 10 chargers costs approximately $767,000, excluding
land-use fees.
In parallel, Chinas innovation hub, Shenzhen, the starting
point of the countrys reforms in 1979, is likely to become one of
the headquarters for the manufacture and distribution of
electric cars.
The financial newspaper 21st Century Business
Herald reported that Tencent is already headquartered in the
city and Hon Hai has production facilities in Shenzhen.
The electric vehicle segment could soon become a crowded field.
For instance, the Beijing-based streaming company Letv has is
leveraging its linkage with a Silicon-Valley start-up, which has
unveiled its concept electric car in the United States.

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OVER 37,000






Colombia has registered more than 37,000 cases of people

infected with Zika, including more than 6,300 pregnant women,
the country's National Institute of Health reported today. The
latest count, based on data reported as of February 13, reflects
an increase of 5,456 cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the
last week for which data is available.
The rapid spread of the virus has raised alarms in Latin
America because it has been tentatively linked to a serious
birth defect known as microcephaly in babies born to women
who became infected while pregnant.
Microcephaly is an irreversible condition in which a baby is
born with an abnormally small head and brain.
Colombia has reported the largest number of cases in Latin
America after Brazil, where the outbreak was first detected last
year and where 1.5 million Zika cases have been reported.


1. According to the latest figures from the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), over the past
five years the volume of transfers of major weapons systems
was up some 14% over 2006-11. And no wonder. Just look at
the headlines.
2. There are growing tensions in Asia, prompted in large part by
China's rise as a regional power.
3. The Middle East is in a state of total melt-down with Iraq and
Syria in chaos; Saudi Arabia at war in Yemen; and with those
countries not engaged directly in conflict all eager to bolster
their defences.
4. Even in Europe, which perhaps enjoyed something of a "peace
dividend" in the wake of the ending of the Cold War, Russia's
behaviour has prompted a slow rise in military spending,
although this latter phenomenon has perhaps been too recent
to figure in Sipri's tables.
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5. The United States remains the major global arms supplier by a

significant margin, accounting for some 33% of sales; its major
customers being Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and
6. Russia is the second major supplier, with 25% of sales, its
principal clients being India and China.
Arms trade
Volume of international transfers

Increase in 2011-15 vs 2006-10
74% of exports come from just five countries - the US, Russia,
China, France and Germany
58% comes from the US and Russia alone
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri)
China itself is also developing as an arms seller.
Indeed, Sipri shows that it has leapfrogged over France and
Germany into third place, accounting for just under 6% of sales
with Pakistan as far and away its largest client.
China's role as an arms exporter reflects the growing
sophistication of its own military industries; a product of its
rising military ambitions.

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Lost in the broad aggregate figures is the fact that China's rise
provides an additional source of supply for weaponry that has
long been the preserve of a small group of western nations.
The export of unmanned drones is a good example with
Chinese-supplied armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's having
been spotted in Nigeria; proof-positive that the days of Beijing
simply exporting cheap and cheerful rip-offs of Russian
weaponry are over.
Nonetheless, the fact that China remains a major importer of
sophisticated arms shows that it still has a way to go in
developing the most advanced weapons systems but the pace of
its development is remarkable.
Both French and German arms sales fell during the past five
years, though those for the UK (in sixth position) rose by nearly
a quarter.
On the demand side the five biggest importers of arms in 201115 were India, Saudi Arabia, China, the UAE and Australia,
who together accounted for some 34% of all arms imports
illustrating once again that in Asia and the Middle East rearmament is very much the order of the day.

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NASA has made public the recording of the mysterious outerspace music that Apollo 10 mission astronauts heard as their
spacecraft flew around the far side of the Moon in 1969.
The transcript of the conversation between Apollo 10
astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young mentioning the
strange sound and the crews response to the phenomenon were
released in 2008. However, the audio of the discussion and the
sounds that the astronauts were referring to has just been
made public.


Pakistan parliament became the first in the world to
completely run on solar power, a venture supported by China
with $55 million funding.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a simple ceremony switched on
solar-powered building of the parliament in capital Islamabad.
First announced in 2014, the venture has been funded by the
Chinese government as an act of friendship, with the solar
power plant costing around $55 million.
This the first time since independence [1947] that parliament
has become self-sufficient in electricity through solar power.
Other institutions in private and public sector need to follow
it, he said in his brief speech.
The project to run parliament on solar power was launched last
year when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited and addressed
the parliament.
Pakistans parliament has become the first in the world to run
entirely on solar power.
Officials said that there are some parliaments like the Israeli
Knesset which are partly run on solar power.


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Events of International Importance |

Ramon Castro has died at age 91. The older brother of Fidel,
89, and Raul Castro, 84, knew little renown, as he declined an
active role in the struggle that heaved the two, and
communism, to power in Cuba in 1959.
Ramon Castro wore a long beard and was at times mistaken for
leader Fidel Castro, who was about the same height and
stature, but he preferred tilling the earth to stirring armed
revolution. He was a farmer like his father Angel Castro.




Researchers at Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK have

found 3,000-year old fingerprints on the lid of an Egyptian
The fingerprints were left by craftsmen who made a mistake
and touched it before the varnish dried, Helen Strudwick, an
Egyptologist at the museum, told CNN. The discovery was
made in 2005, but has not been publicized so far.
This finding brings us closer to the people who made the
coffins, the museum said in a statement.
The fingerprints were on an inner coffin lid believed to have
belonged to a priest called Nespawershefyt, also known as NesAmun, who was the chief of scribes of the temple of Amun-Re at
Thebes, the museum said.
The coffins, which date back to 1,000 B.C., underwent extensive
examinations, including X-rays at the museum and CT
scanning at a nearby hospital, which revealed information
about how Egyptian coffins were made 3,000 years ago.


Pakistan resumed Lahore-Delhi Dosti bus service, days after it
was suspended indefinitely at Indias request following violence
and arson in Jat quota stir in Haryana.

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The bus service, which was suspended on February 21, was

resumed after clearance from India and about 21 passengers
mostly Indians left for Delhi, Pakistan Tourism
Development Corporation Manager Col (retired) Khalid said.
We had been in touch with the Indian authorities who gave us
the go-ahead yesterday [Tuesday] to resume the bus service
today, he said, adding the department had facilitated the
passengers, especially Indians, who were to leave for Delhi on
last Monday.


The Samjhota Express train service, which was also suspended
due to the agitation, will resume on Thursday.
Since the agitation is over in India, the train service will also
resume tomorrow [Thursday], a Pakistan Railways official
Pakistan and Indian authorities had extended the visas of the
passengers who were to leave for their destinations early this
week by the Lahore-Delhi Dosti Bus Service and Samjhauta
The bus and train services between the two countries were
suspended after the Jat agitators blocked major road and rail
routes in Haryana for days, demanding quota under OBC.
At least 19 people were killed in the violent agitation.






The Chinese capital has overtaken the Big Apple as home to

the most billionaires 100 to 95 according to Hurun, a Shanghai
firm that releases yearly rankings and research about the 1 per
Slowdown, but elite make money
The study, which comes months after reports suggested China
now has more billionaires than the United States, highlights
how Chinas elite are continuing to accrue vast wealth despite a
wobbling stock market and tepid economy.
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Beijing took the title from New York after minting 32 new
billionaires last year, while New York gained four.
Moscow came in third place, with 66 billionaires, while Hong
Kong and Shanghai came in fourth and fifth with 64 and 50,


The New Development Bank (NDB) a multilateral lender
with a focus on the Global South of the of the Brazil-RussiaIndia-China-South Africa(BRICS) grouping is all set to fund
more than a dozen projects this year, which will focus on
renewable energy.
NDB President K.V. Kamath revealed at a media conference
that the initial focus of the bank would on green energy
projects. I think it would be safe to say that more than half the
projects both in number and value would be green and that is
something that we are consciously doing and we are heartened
by the response we are getting from various governments in
proposing such projects, Mr. Kamath observed. He added that
the lending, which will commence in April would fund a project
each from the five-member grouping.
But he added that 10-15 projects are in the pipeline for the
remaining part of the year. The President of the NDB, on the
eve of the signing of the Headquarters Agreement with the
Chinese government a move that would officially launch the
bank for operations clarified that the lender was not geared
to issue soft loans. On the rate of interest, we will not be
lending on concessional terms. That was not the intent at all.
We will need to factor our own cost of funds and add an
appropriate margin. He added the cost of funds would be
determined by our actual experience in the market. So we will
function as a prudent bank should.
Mr. Kamath explained that NDB would include market
borrowing to raise capital, but stressed that bonds in local
currency, rather than hard currency, would be favoured. We
will be resorting to bond issues. As has been said earlier, we
will raise it in local currencies where it is feasible and of course
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we will supplement where it is required in with dollar bond

The NDBs initial capital has been fixed at$50 billion, and the
total paid in capital would be $ 10 billion, according to a NDB
press statement. Analysts point out that following the 2008
financial crisis, the NDB and the China-led Asian
Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB) both geared
towards infrastructure development in Asia and the Global
South are reshaping the global financial architecture, a field
that had been monopolised by western backed International
Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Asian
Development Bank (ADB).With Africa also one of its focal
points, a NDB is set to open an African Regional Center (ARC),
headquartered in Johannesburg, by thesecond half of this year.
It would aim to develop a project pipeline for the continent,
the press statement said. The NDB will soon become a strong
and well-respected international financial institution, playing a
leading role in the changing international financial
architecture, observed Anton Silunov, Russias finance
minister who also steered Fridays media interaction. He
pointed out that the G-20 countries had now to mainstream the
role of institutions such as NDB and the AIIB in shaping the
global economy.
On the eve of its operational launch, the NDB has bagged a
AAA institutional rating from domestic credit rating agencies
in China, where the China Development Bank (CDB) and the
Bank of China have been appointed as rating advisers.
Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs are in the saddle as
international rating advisors.




NASA has made public the recording of the mysterious outerspace music that Apollo 10 mission astronauts heard as their
spacecraft flew around the far side of the Moon in 1969.
The transcript of the conversation between Apollo 10
astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young mentioning the
strange sound and the crews response to the phenomenon were
Page 39 of 185

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released in 2008. However, the audio of the discussion and the

sounds that the astronauts were referring to has just been
made public.

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March 2016


If youre British or American, you might think you have the most
powerful passport in the world.
But a new index by the British immigration and citizenship firm
Henley & Partners suggests otherwise.
According to Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index,
released, Germans hold the strongest passports, giving them visafree access to 177 countries.
The European nation has held the indexs top spot for three years
in a row.






The index ranked 199 countries according to the travel freedom

each offers its citizens out of a possible 218 countries, using data
from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to the index, the IATA holds the largest database of
travel information.
Nationalities were awarded points based on the number of other
countries their citizens could travel to without a visa, as of
January 1.
Sweden came in second place, with visa-free access to 176
The United Kingdom, which held the top spot in the ranking from
2013 to 2015 (including twice tying Germany), came in third place
along with Finland, France, Italy, and Spain, with 175 countries
at passport holders fingertips.
The United States dropped from second place in 2015 to fourth
place this year, tied with Belgium, Denmark, and the
Netherlands, all of which offer access to 174 countries.
Afghanistan is ranked the worst in 104th place, with access to just
25 countries. Pakistan is second-worst, with travel permitted to 29
countries, and Iraq is third from the bottom, restricted to 30 other
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Microsofts co-founder Bill Gates continued his reign as the worlds

richest person with a net worth of $ 75 billion, according to Forbes
annual ranking of billionaires, with Reliance Industries chairman
Mukesh Ambani leading the pack of 84 Indian billionaires in
Forbes 2016 list of the Worlds Billionaires includes 1,810
billionaires, down from a record 1,826 a year ago. Their aggregate
net worth is $6.5 billion, $570 million less than last year.







Gates remains the richest person in the world with a net worth of
$75 billion, despite being $4.2 billion poorer than a year ago.
He has been number one for 3 years in a row and topped the list
17 out of 22 years.
Ambani, 58, has retained his position as Indias richest person
despite shares of his oil and gas giant Reliance Industries taking a
hit due to lower oil prices.
He is ranked 36th on the list with a net worth of $20.6 billion, the
magazine said, adding that the $62.2 billion (revenues) firm is
likely to resume buying crude oil from Iran after the lifting of
Occupying the second spot on the list is Spanish billionaire
Amancio Ortega, founder of closing retail giant Zara and the
richest man in Europe.
On the third spot is billionaire philanthropist and Berkshire
Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim
Helu (4) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (5).
Ambani leads a pack of 84 billionaires from India, with pharma
magnate Dilip Shanghvi (rank 44 and $16.7 billion networth),
Wipro Chairman Azim Premji (55 with $15 billion networth) and
HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar (88 and $11.1 billion networth)
coming in among the top 100 billionaires.
Other prominent Indian billionaires include ArcelorMittal
Chairman Lakshmi Mittal (135), Bharti Airtels Sunil Mittal
(219), ports and power magnate Gautam Adani (453), matriarch
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Savitri Jindal (453), Bajaj Groups Rahul Bajaj (722), Infosys

chairman emeritus N R Narayana Murthy (959) and Mahindra
Groups chief Anand Mahindra (1577).








The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the toughest

sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger
at Pyongyangs latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of
a ban on all nuclear-related activity.
The United States and North Koreas traditional ally China spent
seven weeks negotiating the new sanctions, which include
mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea
by land, sea or air; a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms
and light weapons to Pyongyang; and expulsion of diplomats from
the North who engage in illicit activities.
The U.S., its Western allies and Japan pressed for new sanctions
that went beyond the Norths nuclear and missile programs but
China, Pyongyangs neighbor, was reluctant to impose measures
that could threaten the stability of North Korea and cause its
economy to collapse.
Nonetheless, Beijing did agree to several economic measures. The
resolution bans the export of coal, iron and iron ore being used to
fund North Koreas nuclear or ballistic missile programs and it
prohibits all exports of gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare
earth minerals.
It also bans aviation fuel exports to the country, including
kerosene-type rocket fuel. The international community,
speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message:
North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose
a better path for its people, President Barack Obama said in a
S. Ambassador Samantha Power told the council after the vote
that part of the perverse reality that has no equal in this world

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is that North Korea prioritizes its nuclear and ballistic missile

programs over the basic needs of its own people.
7. The resolution stresses that the new measures are not intended to
have adverse humanitarian consequences for civilians, the
majority who face economic hardships and food shortages.
8. In the financial and banking sector, countries are required to
freeze the assets of companies and other entities linked to
Pyongyangs nuclear and missile programs. Under a previous
resolution, they were encouraged to do so.
9. The resolution also prohibits all countries from opening new
branches, subsidiaries and representative offices of North Korean
banks, and bans financial institutions from establishing new joint
ventures or establishing or maintaining correspondent
relationships with these banks.
10. It also orders countries to close all North Korean banks and
terminate all banking relationships within 90 days. Under the
four rounds of U.N. sanctions imposed since the countrys first
nuclear test in 2006, North Korea is banned from importing or
exporting nuclear or missile items and technology as well as
luxury goods.
11. The new resolution expands the list of banned items, adding
luxury items such as expensive watches, snowmobiles,
recreational water vehicles and lead crystal.
12. It also adds 16 individuals, 12 entities including the National
Aerospace Development Agency which was responsible for
Februarys rocket launch, and 31 ships owned by the North
Korean shipping firm Ocean Maritime Management Company to
the sanctions blacklist.
13. That requires the freezing of assets and, in the case of individuals,
a travel ban as well. The resolution bans Pyongyang from
chartering vessels or aircraft, and call on countries to de-register
any vessel owned, operated or crewed by the North.
14. As with previous resolutions, the test will be whether U.N.
member states enforce the sanctions. A U.N. panel of experts
monitoring the sanctions has repeatedly pointed out that
enforcement in a significant number of cases has been weak.
North Korea has ignored many demands, and tried to circumvent
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It started off the new year with what it claims was its first
hydrogen bomb test on Jan. 6 and followed up with the launch of a
satellite on a rocket on Feb. 7.
16. It was condemned by much of the world as a test of banned missile
technology. The resolution calls for a resumption of six-party talks
leading to the goal of the verifiable denuclearization of the
Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner. North Korea withdrew
from the talks in 2008.






More than 131,000 migrants and refugees have reached Europe

via the Mediterranean this year, more than the total number in
the first five months of 2015, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Out of a total of 131,724 people who have arrived on Europes
shores this year, 122,637 landed in Greece and most were fleeing
the conflict in Syria, the UNs refugee agency (UNHCR) said.
The agency said an estimated 24,000 migrants in Greece were in
need of accommodation as of last night.
Huge blockages of people have built up in the country after
European nations including neighbouring Macedonia set tight
limits on migrants entries.
Europe is on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian
crisis, the agency warned, accusing EU governments of fuelling
the chaos and suffering by resorting to inconsistent practices in
response to the migrant influx.



Five Indian women have made it to the Forbes list of worlds

richest people in the world, which saw 190 women billionaires a
little over 10 per cent of the total count.
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Globally the number of women in the coveted rich list declined

from last year. Of the total 1,810 billionaires this year, 190 are
women, down from 197 in 2015. Moreover, women still account for
just a small percentage a little over 10 per cent of the total richie
rich population.
Among the Indian women on the list Savitri Jindal and family was
ranked at the 453rd place on the list with a net worth of USD 3.5
billion. On Jindal, Forbes said, in the past five years, matriarch
Savitri Jindals fortune has declined by close to USD 10 billion due
to a downward slide in shares of her O P Jindal group companies.
Indu Jain who chairs media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman &
Co, was placed at the 549 rank globally. Her net worth stood at
USD 3.1 billion. Others on the list include, Smita Crishna-Godrej
ranked 810 on the list with a net worth of USD 2.2 billion. This is
her maiden appearance on the billionaires list by virtue of a onefifth stake in the family assets.
Meanwhile, low profile heiress Leena Tewari debuted on the
billionaires list. She chairs and owns privately held Indian
generics maker USV, known for its drugs for diabetes and
cardiovascular diseases, among much else. Leena Tiwari was
placed at 1067 position with a net wealth of USD 1.7 billion.
Vinod Gupta ranked 1577 with assets of USD 1.1 billion, is the
wife of Qimat Rai Gupta, who died in November 2014. She
inherited her husbands shares in electrical firm Havells India,
though she doesnt hold an executive or board position.
Globally, the grand dame of LOral, Liliane Bettencourt and her
children were ranked at the top among the richest women in the
world. She was placed at the 11th position with a net worth of
USD 36.1 billion, followed by Alice Walton ranked 16th with
assets of USD 32.3 billion and Jacqueline Mars (27, USD 23.4



Hyderabads Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been

declared as the third best airport in the world, in the 5-15 million
passengers per annum category, by the Airports Council
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It is for the seventh year in a row that the facility, operated and
managed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, is being
featured among the worlds top three airports in the Councils
ASQ ranking.
The award will be presented at the ASQ awards ceremony in April
as a part of the 2016 ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly in Gold
Coast, Australia.
It is a moment of great pride for us we thank our passengers
for keeping the faith in us, GHIAL CEO S.G.K. Kishore said in a
The award also enhances the visibility of the city, furthering the
Brand Hyderabad initiative of Telangana government.



A top General of Chinas Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) has

visited Afghanistan to work out a regional counter-terrorism
mechanism with an eye on safeguarding the One Belt One Road
connectivity initiative in Eurasia.
General Fang Fenghui, PLAs Chief of General Staff and member
of the Central Military Commission (CMC) the apex body
steering the armed forces has proposed formation of a regional
counter-terrorism mechanism that will also include Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Tajikistan as members.

Kabul welcomes it

The PLAs website, China Military Online, pointed out that during
his meeting with Afghanistans President, Ashraf Ghani, Gen.
Fang offered to make positive contributions to maintaining
regional security and stability and boosting the construction of
One Belt and One Road. Mr. Ghani also acknowledged the great
significance of the initiative to the entire region.

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Besides, the Afghan side also welcomed the Chinese proposal for a
four-nation regional counter-terrorism mechanism.
Afghanistans news agency Khaama Press reported that
Afghanistans National Security Adviser, Hanif Atmar, during his
meeting with Gen. Fang, also requested delivery of transport and
logistical aircraft as well as mobile radars for the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF), which are in critical need of aviation
China is threatened by terror strikes from the East Turkestan
Islamic Movement (ETIM), especially in its Xinjiang province.
However, the rise of the Khorasan Province (ISIL-K) a branch
of the Islamic State in Afghanistan has fuelled further
anxieties on its likely impact on the One Belt One Road


A small dragonfly found in several countries including India may

be the animal worlds most prolific long distance traveler flying
thousands of miles over oceans as it migrates across continents,
scientists say.
Scientists at the Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) found that
populations of this dragonfly, called Pantala flavescens, in
locations as far apart as Texas, eastern Canada, Japan, Korea,
India, and South America, have genetic profiles so similar that
there is only one likely explanation.

Prolific travelers

These insects travel distances that are extraordinarily long for

their small size, breeding with each other, and creating a common
worldwide gene pool that would be impossible if they did not
intermingle, researchers said.
This is the first time anyone has looked at genes to see how far
these insects have travelled, said Jessica Ware, assistant
professor of biology at RU-N.
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If North American Pantala only bred with North

American Pantala, and Japanese Pantala only bred with
Japanese Pantala, we would expect to see that in genetic results
that differed from each other, said Ms. Ware. Because we dont
see that, it suggests the mixing of genes across vast geographic
expanses, she said.

They have the adaptations

These dragonflies have adaptations such as increased surface

areas on their wings that enable them to use the wind to carry
them, Ms. Ware said.
Dragonflies, in fact, have already been observed crossing the
Indian Ocean from Asia to Africa.
They are following the weather. Theyre going from India where
its dry season to Africa where its moist season, and apparently
they do it once a year, said Daniel Troast, who analysed the DNA
samples in Ms. Wares lab.

These need moistures to multiply

Moisture is a must for Pantala to reproduce, and that is why

these insects would be driven to even attempt such a perilous
trip, Ms. Ware said.
The species depends on it. While many will die en route, as long as
enough make it, the species survives.
Flight patterns appear to vary. The hardiest of the dragonflies
might make the trip nonstop, catching robust air currents or even
hurricane winds and gliding all the way.
Others may be puddle jumpers.

Freshwater as breeding ground

Pantala need freshwater to mate and lay their eggs and if they
spot a freshwater pool, even on an island in the middle of an ocean
it is likely they use those pools to mate, researchers said.
After the eggs hatch and the babies are mature enough to fly
which takes just a few weeks the new dragonflies join the

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swarms intercontinental and now multi-generational trek right

where their parents left off.
New record-holders

Monarch butterflies migrating across North America were thought

to be the longest migrating insects, travelling about 4,023
kilometres each way, but Pantala breaks any migrating record
they would have, with its estimated range of 7,081 kilometres or
more, researchers said.


Love to travel but dread delays and stopovers on long-haul flights?
2. Theres possibly exciting news for you.
3. Emirates has launched the worlds longest nonstop commercial
flight by distance between Dubai and New Zealand.
4. An Airbus 380, the worlds largest passenger plane, left Dubai and
touched down in Auckland Wednesday, after traversing 14,200
5. Taking 17 hours and 15 minutes on the stretch from Auckland
back to Dubai, Emirates claims its a more, as well as being the
6. Emirates will be using flexible routes, which can vary by day,
taking advantage of tail winds and avoiding head winds to reduce
the time in the air, it said.
7. Scheduled daily, the new flight shaves three hours from Emirates
existing services that include a stopover in Australia.
8. A double-decker A380 was used to celebrate the debut but the
Boeing 777-200LR will fly the route regularly.
9. To help you get through those uninterrupted, layover-free hours,
Emirates assures that gourmet meals and fine wines will be on
offer, along with more than 2,000 channels of entertainment and
information on individual screens.
10. Emirates was poised to break another record when it
announceddaily service between Dubai and Panama City would

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begin on February 1, opening up connections between the Middle

East and Central America.
11. Taking an incredible 17 hours and 35 minutes to travel 13,800
kilometers, the flight would eclipse Qantas Airways service
between Sydney and Dallas, which takes a little under 17 hours.
12. However, Emirates has delayed the planned service until late
March, pending codeshare approvals from Latin America.


The Marine Environmental Research Center established jointly by
KAUST and Saudi Aramco is the first oceanic observatory capable of
monitoring the Red Sea. Marine research in the Red Sea in the past
has been sporadic and often limited to easy-to-reach areasrather like
poking toothpicks into a cake to see if it is cooked, explained Burton
Jones, director of the center and KAUST professor of marine science.



Until the formation of KAUST, no one had carried out systematic,

long-term research into the Red Seas marine and coastal
environments. Now we have an oceanic observatory that will
establish the baseline physical and biological aspects of this
unique environment.
Established in 2013, the strategic partnership enables close
collaboration between the researchers at the center and at the
KAUST Red Sea Research Center (RSRC) and with scientists from
Saudi Aramco. They combine data from research conducted close
to KAUST with data collected further afield in more remote parts
of the Red Sea.
The oceanographic research considers the physical variables of the
region and monitors ocean currents, the atmosphere and changes
in the environment. A key aim is to create models of the Red Sea
to understand the processes and influences that affect the ocean
and its surroundings. Led by Ibrahim Hoteit, associate professor
of earth science and engineering from the Universitys Physical
Science and Engineering Division, the research focuses on the
long-term monitoring and modelling of oceanic and atmospheric
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Knowledge of circulation patterns can prove invaluable in the

event of an oil spill, for example.
5. To make viable predictions, we need to draw on knowledge of how
the Red Sea behaves as a whole, noted Jones. We are developing
an overviewa year in the life of the Red Sea, if you willthat will
enable us to build better prediction models to examine the impact
of catastrophic events and the effects of long-term climate change.
6. The centers research teams collect data from networks of fixed
coastal measuring systems, monitor wave patterns with radar and
have the latest underwater and aerial autonomous vehicle
technology at their fingertips.
7. The autonomous vehicles have revolutionized the way oceanic
research is carried out. By deploying the vehicles for a period of
weeks or months, the researchers can build up a larger-scale,
highly detailed picture of the Red Sea from above and below the
8. Detailed ecological assessments also form a major part of the
work, with a particular focus on coral reefs and on the impact of
new infrastructure developments along the Red Sea coast.
9. Jones and colleagues continuously monitor the health of the Red
Seas microenvironments, particularly in far-flung regions. There
are ongoing projects to characterize the makeup of sediments and
corals, checking for contaminants, toxicity and oil-related
pollution. In one study led by Susana Carvalho, a research
scientist in the RSRC, artificial reef structures were placed in the
water for one to two years and the species that settled on them
were analyzed and documented.
10. We are interested in the cryptic diversity of coral reefs those
elements of the ecosystem beyond the obvious fish and coral
species. The artificial reefs are providing a wealth of new data in
this regard, Jones said.
11. This project is part of a larger international collaboration in which
research teams working on artificial reefs across the globe are now
sharing data to build up a more comprehensive picture of the
worlds oceans.
12. KAUST and Saudi Aramco have founded a unique oceanic
observatory in the region, and, driven by the efforts of researchers

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working there, the initiative will continue to provide

unprecedented insights into the Red Sea.






Japanese gathered in Tokyo and along the countrys ravaged

northeast coast to observe a moment of silence at 2-46 p.m.,
exactly five years after a magnitude9.0 earthquakes struck
offshore, triggering a devastating tsunami that killed more than
18,000 people and sent reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant
into meltdown.
Some teared up as they held hands or bowed their heads in prayer
as sirens sounded on a chilly afternoon in northern Japan.
Japanese Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, all in formal wear, led a ceremony in Tokyo attended
by officials and survivors.
Many of the people affected by the disaster are aging, and I worry
that some of them may be suffering alone in places where our eyes
and attention dont reach, Emperor Akihito said. It is important
that all the people keep their hearts together so that not a single
person still in difficulty is overlooked and they can return to
normal life as soon as possible.
Five years on, the most heavily damaged communities have yet to
be rebuilt. About 180,000 people are still displaced, including
those reluctant to return to homes in Fukushima. Much of the
disaster-hit Tohoku coast remains empty except for huge mounds
of dirt that are raising the ground to minimise the risk of future
tsunami before any rebuilding.



After spending nearly, a year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly is

hanging up his spacesuit.
NASA announced Mr. Kellys retirement, less than two weeks
after he returned to Earth. He leaves the space agency on April 1.
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The 52-year-old Kelly spent a U.S.-record 340 days in orbit on the

International Space Station to see how the human body holds up
for long periods of time in space.
His results are being compared to those on the ground from his
twin brother, Mark, who is a retired astronaut.
Scott Kelly also holds the American record for most time in space520 days over four missions.





The fourth World Happiness Report also found that countries

where there was less inequality were happier overall.
Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland, which like Denmark,
have strong social security systems, made up the rest of the top
The US was the worlds 13th happiest country, the UK was 23rd,
China was 83rd and India was 118th.
At the bottom of the 156 countries on the list was Burundi, which
is experiencing severe political unrest and the threat of violence.
It scored worse than Syria, where a civil war has killed more than
250,000 people over the past five years.
The survey found Syrians had better healthy-life expectancy and
were also seen as being more generous than Burundians and
people in the three other nations Togo, Afghanistan and Benin
making up the five least happy countries.
The report compiled by the UNs Sustainable Development
Solutions Network (SDSN) is an analysis of Gallup World Poll
data generated from surveys of 1,000 people in each country every
year for three years.

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The Pakistan National Assembly on passed a resolution to take

steps to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as holidays for minorities
in the country.
This house is of the opinion that government should take steps to
declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as closed holidays for minorities,
read the resolution moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
lawmaker Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.


108,000 TREES




Citizens in Bhutan are anxious to ensure the survival of groves of

trees that have been planted across the Himalayan nation to
honor the beloved king and queens new baby boy.
Citizens in Bhutan are anxious to ensure the survival of groves of
trees that have been planted across the Himalayan nation to
honor the beloved king and queens new baby boy.
Many people in the Buddhist country stop during daily walks or
drive to water some of the 108,000 saplings placed on hillsides and
in valleys.
In Buddhism, trees are considered divine for their role in
providing and nourishing all life forms.




Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the most influential

people on the Internet, TIME magazine said, describing the
Indian leader as an Internet star who often uses social media to
conduct diplomacy.
The magazine cited Mr. Modis unconventional announcement on
Twitter of his visit to Pakistan last year while naming him among
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The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet for the second

year in a row in this years unranked list.



As Tilikumlies dying in a tank in Orlando, SeaWorld made a

major announcement: After several years of pressure from
activists and the public, the company will end its orca breeding
and theatrical shows programs.
The company had already announced plans to end its
controversial whale shows in San Diegoin November 2015, in
response to scrutiny from the state of California, and now
SeaWorld is going a step further by phasing out its theatrical orca
shows at all locations, including in Florida and Texas.
SeaWorld will replace its showswhich have been seen by
400 million peoplewith new, inspiring, natural orca
encounters emphasizing orca enrichment, exercise and overall
health while its remaining whales remain alive.
The company hasnt added a captured whale for years but has
been breeding them in captivity, a process that is now being
phased out. (Tilikum was captured off Iceland in 1983.) The
phase-out will take some time, as the company currently has a
pregnant orca, Takara, in captivity.
Theatrical orca shows will end at SeaWorld San Diego in 2017 and
in Orlando and San Antonio in 2019.
The announcement has been praised by People for the
Ethical Treatment for Animals, which has campaigned against
SeaWorld for years. Still, the advocacy group is calling on the
company to end their orca programs immediately and open their
tanks to the oceans.
Public scrutiny of SeaWorlds so-called Shamu shows has
risen in the three years since the critical
documentary Blackfishwas released, building on the outrage
over Tilikums killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau in February
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Facebook said it has paid Rs. 4.84 crore to researchers in India as
part of its bug bounty programme, the most paid till date by the
worlds largest social networking platform.
2. India, which has over 142 million Facebook users, also holds top
rank among 127 countries in terms of researchers contributing to
its bug bounty programme, it said in a blog.
3. India is home to the largest population of security researchers
(205) participating in the Facebook bug bounty programme, since
its inception in 2011. The country also holds the top spot for most
bounties paid (Rs 48.4 million), Adam Ruddermann, a technical
program manager on the Facebook Bug Bounty team, wrote.
4. A bug is an error or defect in software or hardware that causes a
programme to malfunction. It often occurs due to conflicts in
software when applications try to run in tandem.
5. While bugs can cause software to crash or produce unexpected
results, certain defects can be used to gain unauthorised access to
6. Since its launch in 2011, Facebooks bug bounty programme has
received over 2,400 valid submissions and has awarded more than
USD 4.3 million to 800-plus researchers globally.
7. Under the programme, researchers get rewarded for reporting
security bugs, identifying vulnerabilities in Facebooks services or
infrastructure that can create security or privacy risks.
8. In 2015, Facebooks team classified 102 bug bounty submissions
as high impact, an increase of 38 per cent over the previous year.
9. It received 13,233 total submissions from 5,543 researchers in 127
countries and paid USD 936,000 to 210 researchers, who
submitted a total of 526 valid reports.
10. The average payout was USD 1,780. India, Egypt, and Trinidad
and Tobago received the highest number of payouts.
11. Facebook receives more and more high-impact bugs (related
reports) from India each year, reflecting the growing

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sophistication and technical capabilities of the countrys

engineering schools and cyber security programmes, he said.






North Korea ignored UN resolutions by firing a medium-range

ballistic missile into the sea, days after its leader Kim Jong Un
ordered weapons tests linked to its pursuit of a long-range nuclear
missile capable of reaching the US mainland.
South Koreas Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement that the
missile fired from a site north of Pyongyang flew about 800
kilometres before crashing off the Norths east coast. It was the
first medium-range missile launched by the North since it fired
two in April 2014.
The launch came as North Korea condemned ongoing annual
South Korean-US military drills that it sees as an invasion
rehearsal. The drills are the largest ever, in response to the
Norths nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this
Earlier, North Korea threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes
against Washington and Seoul and fired short-range missiles and
artillery into the sea in an apparent anger over the drills and
tough UN sanctions imposed over its nuclear test and rocket



Italys government is set to approve a measure that will require

supermarkets to donate unsold food to those in need.
Following in the footsteps of France, where law became
effective earlier this year, the Mediterranean nation seeks to cut
down on the enormous amounts of food that go to waste each year.
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The proposed legislation will require supermarkets to donate

unsold or unused food to organizations that use it to feed hungry
people, making it a win for the environment, society and the
Italy, a country with a rich culinary culture and population of
nearly 60 million people, throws away over 5.1 million tons of food
each year.
The proposed legislation would require that unsold or unused food
be donated to charities rather than thrown away, redirecting some
of that waste into a channel that actually helps people.
Due to widespread bipartisan support, the bill is expected to
advance to the senate sometime next week for a final vote, after it
passes in parliament.
Elsewhere in the EU, similar efforts have been enacted to reduce
annual food waste, much of which stems from the retail sector.
France recently became the first country in the world toban
supermarkets from throwing away food, and French politician
Arash Derambarsh is pushing for similar legislation over the
entire EU. Last year, UK supermarket chain Tesco announced its
own initiative for donating unsold foodto women and children in
need. Last month, Denmark opened its first discount store selling
expired and damaged goods, as a stop-gap for the growing food
waste problem.



A 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit off the east coast of Russias

Kamchatka Peninsula but was not expected to cause damage or
fatalities, US experts said.
The quake, which struck at 3:50 am (local time), was at a depth of
29 kilometres with its epicentre located 128 miles south of UstKamchatsk Staryy, according to the US Geological Survey.
USGS said on its website that perceived shaking on the peninsula
was light with no damage expected.

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US President Barack Obama arrived to small but cheering crowds on
Sunday at the start of a historic visit to Cuba that opened a new
chapter in US engagement with the islands Communist government
after decades of hostility between the former Cold War foes.

The three-day trip, the first by a US president to Cuba in 88

years, is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by
Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014,
ending an estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution
ousted a pro-American government in 1959.
Its a historic opportunity to engage directly with the Cuban
people, Obama told staff at the newly reopened US Embassy who
were gathered at a hotel, his first stop after arriving in the
Groups of Cubans watched the motorcade from balconies and
backyards as Obama was driven downtown, where a small crowd
of Cubans braved a tropical downpour and tight security. They
chanted: Viva Obama, Viva Fidel, as the president and his
family left after eating dinner in a rundown neighbourhood.
Obama, who abandoned a long-time US policy of trying to isolate
Cuba, wants to make his policy shift irreversible even if a
Republican wins the White House in the November 8 election.
But major obstacles remain to full normalization of ties, and the
Democratic presidents critics say the visit is premature. US
officials concede the trip may not yield immediate concessions
from Cuba on rights and economic freedom.
On Sunday, one bystander shouted: Down with the blockade, in
reference to the US embargo in place for 54 years that remains the
top irritant for Cubans. Obama, who responded to the shout by
raising his right hand, has asked Congress to rescind the embargo
but has been blocked by the Republican leadership.
Underscoring the ideological divide that persists between
Washington and Havana, Cuban police, backed by hundreds of
pro-government demonstrators, broke up the regular march of a
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leading dissident group, the Ladies in White, detaining about 50

people just hours before Obama arrived.
Obama arrived at Havanas Jose Marti International Airport in
Air Force One, the presidential jet with United States of
America emblazoned across its fuselage, a sight almost
unimaginable not long ago on the island, just 145 km off the coast
of Florida.
He was met by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, the top
Cuban official present. The formal welcoming ceremony will be on
Monday when Obama meets the Cuban president at the
presidential palace.
US officials appeared unfazed by Castros absence from the airport
welcome, even though he personally met and greeted Pope Francis
in September. Republican presidential front-runner Donald
Trump tweeted that Obamas visit was a big deal but that he got
no respect.
Obama will hold talks with Castro but not his brother Fidel, the
revolutionary leader and speak to entrepreneurs on Monday. He
meets privately with dissidents, addresses Cubans live on staterun media and attends an exhibition baseball game on Tuesday.
The trip carries both symbolism and substance after decades of
hostility between Washington and Havana.
Travelling with First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother and their
daughters, Sasha and Malia, Obama took in the sights of the
colonial-era neighborhood and was given a tour of Havanas 18th
century cathedral by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who played a role in
secret talks that led to the rapprochement 15 months ago.
The Obamas dined at the San Cristobal restaurant, run by an
Afro-Cuban as part of a cautious opening to private enterprise
since Fidel Castro handed power to his brother in 2008.
The trip makes Obama the first sitting American president to visit
Cuba since Calvin Coolidge arrived on a battleship in 1928 and
may help chip away at barriers to US-Cuba trade and travel.
Since rapprochement, the two sides have restored diplomatic ties
and signed commercial deals on telecommunications and
scheduled airline service.

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Obama has used executive authority to loosen trade and travel

restrictions to advance his outreach to Cuba, one of his top foreign
policy priorities along with the Iran nuclear deal.
Cuba still complains about US control of the naval base at
Guantanamo Bay under a 1934 lease agreement that Havana says
is no longer valid and that Obama has said is not up for
discussion. Havana is unhappy with US support for dissidents and
anti-communist radio and TV programs beamed into Cuba.
Speaking to reporters, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment
minister Rodrigo Malmierca Daz said before the US presidents
arrival that Obamas regulatory moves go in the right direction.
But he added: We cant reach a normalization of relations with
the blockade still in effect.









New photographs of the worlds longest aircraft have been made

public on Sunday ahead of its official unveiling and first UK test
The Airlander 10, which is part plane, part airship and part
helicopter, is 92m long around 15m longer than the biggest
passenger jets.
The British Firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has designed the
craft to stay airborne for up to three weeks using helium and the
vessel is able to travel at a speed of 92mph.
HAV will unveil the aircraft, standing at 26m high and 44m wide,
in a First World War aircraft hangar in Bedfordshire on Monday
and it will undergo its first test flight in a few weeks time.
As it is heavier than air, the Airlander 10 is able to land without
tethers on a variety of surfaces, including water and ice, Sky News
It was first developed in 2009 for the US government as a longendurance surveillance aircraft but its manufacture was hindered
by defence cut-backs.
HAV believe the craft could be used for a host of functions,
including surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even
passenger travel.
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It is hoped the Airlander 10 will eventually be developed to be

able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.
9. The British firm have also stressed how the vessel, which is silent
and emits no pollution, could be a breakthrough for air travel.
10. The firm is hoping to build 12 Airlanders a year by 2018, some of
which can be used as passenger aircraft able to carry up to 48
people at a time, the BBC reports.
11. Chris Daniels, HAVs head of partnerships, said: This fantastic
story of British innovation getting a unique aircraft fully
assembled to do something both useful and commercially viable.
12. We are ready to show the world the potential it can achieve in
monitoring, search and rescue, cargo, aid distribution and even
passenger roles, Mr Daniels said.


Andy Grove, the former Intel Corp. chief executive whose youth
under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired
an only the paranoid survive management philosophy that saved
the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s, died. He was 79.
Groves bet-the-company gamble moving Intel from memory chips
to microprocessors in the mid-1980s to serve what was still a
fledgling PC industry helped rescue Intel from a financial crisis
and set it on course to becoming one of the most profitable and
important technology companies of all time.



Aung San Suu Kyi was nominated to join the cabinet in

Myanmars incoming government on giving the democracy veteran
a formal position in the administration, despite being blocked
from the presidency.
The Nobel laureate, who has vowed to rule above the next
president Htin Kyaw, was named first in a list of ministers read
out to lawmakers by the parliament speaker, who did not specify
which position she or others would hold.
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Under Myanmars complex political rules, the cabinet role means

she will likely have to forego her formal position as head of her
National League for Democracy, which she led to a stunning
victory in historic November elections in the culmination of a
decades-long struggle against military rule.





The U.S. on 28 March 2016 returned an ancient decapitated

statue of Hindu god Rama stolen from Cambodia during the South
East Asian countrys civil war in the 70s. Called the Torso of
Rama, the 10th century sandstone statue sans its head, arms and
feet was acquired by the Denver Art Museum 30 years ago from
the Doris Weiner Gallery in New York City.
The museum said it only realised the Khmer-era statue was looted
from the Koh Ker temple near the famous Angkor Wat complex in
the 70s after recent discussions with Cambodia. Officials from the
museum and the Cambodian government marked the handover of
the 62inchtall statue in a ceremony in Phnom Penh. In May
last year, a 10th century stone statue of Hanuman was returned
to Cambodia by the Cleveland Museum of Art.
In January, a 7th century stone sculpture of Harihara, a deity
that combines aspects of Vishnu and Shiva, was returned by
France and reattached to its body for display at a museum in
Phnom Penh, more than 130 years after it was spirited away.
Angkor Wat and other mighty cities and temples were built in
Cambodia, which was home to the Khmer Empire, a HinduBuddhist dynasty.

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April 2016
A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modis arrival in Saudi Arabia
for his first visit, the Gulf kingdom and the U.S announced joint action
against two groups and four individuals for promoting terrorism. These
groups and individuals are suspected of supporting al-Qaida and the
Taliban in their operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and
the Lashar-e-Taiba that targets India have been put under sanctions,
and entities and individuals in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are barred
from dealing with them.
The U.S Treasury Department said James Alexander McLintock in
Scotland runs the Pakistan-based Al-Rahmah Welfare Organisation,
which acts as a front for raising money for terror groups under the guise
of raising money for orphans. McLintock recruited Afghan insurgents
to obtain photos of children, Afghan identity documents and cell phone
numbers to create falsified dossiers used to obtain donations, the
Treasury Department said in a statement. He has been raising money
from donors in U.K and the Persian Gulf.
Abdul Aziz Nuristani and the Jamia Asariya Madrassa that he runs in
Peshawar, Pakistan; Naveed Qamar, an LeT operative and Muhammad
Ijaz Safarash, also an LeT operative who has been active in fundraising in Saudi Arabia are the others sanctioned. The individuals will
be on the list of globally designated terrorists.


Amid the rise of IS and presence of terror groups in Af-Pak region,
India will lay emphasis on creating an effective mechanism to address
the threat of nuclear terrorism at the fourth and last Nuclear Security
Summit in Washington on 31 March and 1 April 2016. New Delhi hopes
that the participants will uphold confidence in the safe and secure
expansion of nuclear power. The Summit would deliberate on the
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crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism,

before arriving in Washington from Brussels.


The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process since 2010 has been
focusing on the global threat posed by nuclear terrorism and
urgent measures required to prevent terrorists and other nonstate
actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials and
The 2016 Summit is expected to take stock of the progress of the
previous NSS Communique and work plan and outline the future
agenda through an action plan that involves IAEA, Interpol and
the UN.


An international coalition of media outlets published what it said was
an extensive investigation into offshore financial dealings of the rich
and famous, based on a vast trove of documents provided by an
anonymous source. The International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists, a non-profit organisation based in Washington, said the
cache of 11.5 million records detailed the offshore holdings of a dozen
current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals,
celebrities and sports stars.
In India


The Indian Express was part of the investigation and has reported
that many Indian industrialists and celebrities, including actors
Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, DLF owner K.P.
Singh and Vinod Adani (Gautam Adanis elder brother), are
named in the documents.
A cache of documents has exposed the secret offshore dealings
of aides to Russian president Vladimir Putin, world leaders and
celebrities including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. An
investigation into the documents by more than 100 media groups,
described as one of the largest such probes in history, revealed the
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hidden offshore dealings in the assets of around 140 political

figures, including 12 current or former heads of states.
No monetary compensation



A Munich-based daily, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, was offered the data

through an encrypted channel by an anonymous source who
requested no monetary compensation and asked only for
unspecified security measures.
The data concerned internal documents from a Panamabased
law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Founded by Germanborn Juergen
Mossack, the firm has offices across the globe and is among
the worlds biggest creators of shell companies.
Ramon Fonseca, a co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, said the firm
had no control of how its clients might use offshore vehicles
created for them.

What are offshore accounts




Offshore bank accounts and other financial dealings in another

country can be used to evade regulatory oversight or tax
Often, companies or individuals use shell companies, initially
incorporated without significant assets or operations, to disguise
ownership or other information about the funds involved.
Where are the most offshore accounts
Panama, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are among more than
a dozen small, low-tax locations that specialise in handling
business services and investments of non-resident companies.

What are the legitimate uses of offshore accounts


Companies or trusts can be set up in offshore locations for

legitimate uses such as business finance, mergers and acquisitions
and estate or tax planning, according to the global money
laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force.

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The illicit uses of such accounts

Shell companies and other entities can be misused by

terrorists and others involved in international and financial
crimes to conceal sources of funds and ownership.
The ICIJ says the files from Mossack Fonseca include information
on 214,488 offshore entities linked to 14,153 clients in 200
countries and territories.

Crack down on financial havens

The Financial Action Task Force and other regulatory agencies

publish assessments identifying weaknesses in enforcement of
anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing efforts of
specific countries and territories.
Financial and legal professionals get training on how to spot
potential violations, since in some cases lawyers and bankers are
unaware they are handling illicit transactions.
The EU has stepped up efforts to crack down on tax avoidance by
multinational corporations.

Past scandals over offshore accounts

Banking secrecy laws tend to obscure offshore financial dealings.

But the disclosure of other leaked documents by the ICIJ and
other organisations in late 2014 drew attention to sweet tax deals
offered by the tiny European country of Luxembourg to
multinational companies and ultra-wealthy individuals.
In the 1980s, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, an
international bank founded by a Pakistani financier, was found to
have been involved in wide-scale money laundering and other
illegal financial dealings.

Crime of the century also had a Panama connection

A Panamanian shell company may have helped hide millions of

dollars from the Brinks-Mat heist, a British gold bullion robbery
that is etched in criminal folklore, leaked tax documents allege.
Dubbed the crime of the century by British media, the caper saw
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a masked gang make off with three tonnes of bullion worth nearly
$40 million from a Brinks-Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport in
November 1983.
Govt sets up multi-agency probe team

With 500 Indians being named in leaked Panama Papers for

alleged offshore holdings, government today formed a multiagency group to monitor exposes in this regard and vowed to take
action against all unlawful accounts held abroad.
discussed the issue with him this morning and on his advice the
group has been set up comprising agencies like CBDT, RBI and
FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit).
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money also said it
will investigate thoroughly the reported secret list exposed by the
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The multi-agency group will comprise various government
agencies the CBDT, FIU, FT&TR (Foreign Tax and Tax
Research) and RBI.



China on 6 April 2016 launched a retrievable scientific research

satellite in a bid to aid scientists to study microgravity and space
life science. SJ-10 was put into orbit by Long March 2-D rocket
from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western
Chinas Gobi Desert.

19 on-board experiments

While in space, the bullet-shaped probe will house 19 experiments

involving microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion,
space material, space radiation effect, microgravity biological
effect and space biotechnology, before coming back to Earth with
results, state run Xinhua news agency reported. On-board
experiments were selected from a pool of over 200 applicants.
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They include one that will study early-stage development of mouse

embryos in microgravity to shed light on human reproduction in
space, and another studying space radiation effects on genetic
stability of fruit flies and rat cells.

Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil

A Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil experiment in partnership

between the National Space Science Centre under CAS and the
European Space Agency (ESA) is also onboard together with an
investigation of coal combustion and pollutant formation under
microgravity. The former test is aimed to improve scientists
understanding of oil reservoirs buried kilometres underground,
while the latter is expected to help enhance energy efficiency and
cut emissions.

Completely new experiments

All experiments conducted on SJ-10 are completely new ones that

have never been done before either at home or abroad. They could
lead to key breakthroughs in our academic research.

Second scientific satellite, 25 retrievable one

SJ-10 is the second of four scientific satellites under a CAS space

program. Unlike the others, SJ-10 is returnable. It is the 25th
such retrievable satellite launched by China in the past decades.
Overall, eight of the experiments on fluid physics and
microgravity combustion will be carried out in the orbital module
and the others in the re-entry capsule which is expected to land at
Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia, the designated landing spot
for Chinas Shenzhou manned space missions and a 2014 test
lunar orbiter.

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UNs accord to fight global warming. The strength of support meant the
climate deal clinched in Paris last year would likely be ratified in New
York on April 22. Almost 200 governments reached an agreement in
December which set a target of limiting global warming to well
below 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial



COP21 is the acronym for the 21st conference of parties to the UN

climate arena.
The 32-page deal also calls on rich nations to muster at least 100
billion dollars (90 billion euros) a year in climate aid from 2020.
Just how that will happen has yet to be worked out.
The deal only comes into force, however, if at least 55 countries
responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas
emissions ratify the accord.
Top emitters the United States and China will be among the
nations signing the Paris climate agreement in New York.




In a monumental literary find, a copy of William Shakespeares

original First Folio, one of the worlds most sought-after books
containing 36 of the Bards plays published seven years after his
death, has been discovered at a stately home on a remote Scottish
island. The goatskin-bound book which was published in 1623 was
found at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute and will now go
on public display at the stately home for the first time. Academics
who authenticated the book called it a rare and significant find.
The discovery comes ahead of the 400th death anniversary of the
playwright on April 23. Adam Ellis-Jones, director of the Mount
Stuart House Trust, said the identification of the original First
Folio was genuinely astonishing. About 230 copies of the First
Folio are known to exist. A copy owned by Oxford University sold
for 3.5 million pounds in 2003. The First Folio, printed seven
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years after Shakespeares death, brought together 36 plays 18

of which would otherwise not have been recorded.
The new discovery comes two years after the last copy was found.
There is uncertainty about where this copy had been for four
centuries since being printed. The story of the First Folio usually
focuses on the literary genius of Shakespeare, but the survival of
his plays depended on the practical skills of the people who
produced this book. Shakespeares body of work consists of 37
plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems.


The World Bank has announced its plan to help developing countries
add 30 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to the worlds energy
capacity and to mobilise $25 billion in private financing for clean energy
by 2020.The Climate Change Action Plan, released by the Washingtonbased lender on 7 April 2016, is designed to help countries meet
their Paris COP 21 pledges and manage increasing climate impacts.
Under the plan




The World Bank will quadruple funding for climate-resilient

transport, integrate climate into urban planning through the
Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, and boost assistance for
sustainable forest and fisheries management.
According to the World Bank, climate change threatens to drive
100 million more people into poverty in the next 15 years.
Its plans to invest more of its funds to help developing
countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, in an effort to
stop extreme weather and rising seas from making poverty worse.
It would bring early warning systems to an extra 100 million
people in 15 developing countries, and social safety nets to protect
an additional 50 million people by 2020.
It will also develop plans for adjusting agriculture to climate shifts
in at least 40 countries through measures like hardier seeds,
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farming methods that capture carbon, and energy-efficient

irrigation systems.
The plan will allow us to help developing countries more quickly,
and in the areas where support is most needed, such as disaster
preparedness, social protection and coastal protection.
Other activities in the plan include providing five more countries
with national-level insurance against disaster risk.
The bank will also pilot a new approach in 15 cities to make them
safer by integrating infrastructure, land use planning and disaster
risk management.

Rebalancing investment



Over the last five fiscal years, the group has committed more
than $50 billion to climate-related activities through over 900
Of that sum, 73 percent was allocated to reducing
emissions through investments in renewable energy, energy
efficiency and changes to urban transport and railways.
Only 27 per cent was focused on helping people and countries
adapt to a changing climate.
The split reflects a common bias in climate finance that many
development experts say needs to be corrected.
The bank reconfirmed plans to increase the climate-related share
of its overall investment from 21 to 28 per cent by 2020, with total
financing of potentially $29 billion per year by that date, including
$13 billion leveraged from the private sector.


The World Trade Organization (WTO) trimmed its 2016 global trade
growth forecast by 1.1 percentage points, saying a slowdown in China
and broad market volatility continued to weigh on growth. The
multilateral trade body has now predicted that global trade would rise
by 2.8% in 2016, lower than its previous forecast of a 3.9% expansion
announced in September last year. This will be the fifth straight year of
trade growth below 3%, which is also much lower than the average
annual expansion of 5% since 1990, showed the WTO data.
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Risks to this forecast are mostly on the downside, including

a sharper-than-expected slowing of the Chinese economy,
worsening financial market volatility, and exposure of countries
with large foreign debts to sharp exchange rate movements.
There is some upside potential if monetary support from the
European Central Bank succeeds in generating faster growth in
the euro area.
Estimated global trade growth at 2.8% for 2015 as well. However,
global trade could rise 3.6% in 2017, thanks to increased demand
for imported goods in Asia.
South America recorded the weakest import growth of any region
in 2015 as a severe recession in Brazil depressed demand.
Exports of developed economies trailed those of developing
countries in 2015, with 2.6% volume growth in the former and
3.3% in the latter.
Imports by developed economies surged last year while those of
developing countries stagnated, with growth of 4.5% in the former
and 0.2% in the latter.
A sharp trade slowdown affected all regions in the second quarter
of 2015 but was mostly reversed by the end of the year.


The birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian
Constitution and Dalit rights activist, would be observed at the United
Nations for the first time with focus on combating inequalities to
achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The Permanent Mission of India to the UN in association with

the Kalpana Saroj Foundation and Foundation for Human
Horizon will commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of
Ambedkar on April 13 at the UN headquarters, a day before his
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On the occasion, a panel discussion will be organised

on Combating inequalities for the achievement of SDGs
(Sustainable Development Goals).
A note circulated by the Indian mission said that as India
celebrates the 125th birth anniversary of the national icon,
Babasaheb remains an inspiration for millions of Indians and
proponents of equality and social justice across the globe.
Fittingly, although its a matter of coincidence, one can see the
trace of Babasahebs radiant vision in the Sustainable
Development Goals adopted by the UN General Assembly to
eliminate poverty, hunger and socio-economic inequality by
2030. Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891.
He died in 1956 and was posthumously conferred with the Bharat
Ratna, Indias highest civilian award, in 1990.


Global economic body OECD has called a special session of countries,
including India, on April 13 to firm up cooperation between nations in
the wake of the Panama Papers disclosures in which about 500 Indians
have figured for holding offshore assets in the tax haven nation.


India adheres to a number of OECD norms for strengthening

overseas tax cooperation and exchange of information and at the
first meeting of a specially constituted Multi-Agency Group
(MAG) of probe agencies held in New Delhi it was decided to
approach the global body along with another similar forum FATF
for support in this regard.
India acknowledged that the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Developments (OECD)invite for the meeting is
meant for all the countries affected by Panama disclosures but a

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final decision on an Indian representation in the meeting will only

be taken by the government.
Government officials from around the world have called on the
OECD to convene a special project meeting of the Joint
International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration
(JITSIC) Network to explore possibilities of cooperation and
information sharing, identify tax compliance risks and agree
collaborative action in light of the Panama Papers revelations.

The meeting, to be held in Paris on April 13 will bring together senior

tax administration officials from countries worldwide. It said the
JITSIC is a network of tax administration officials with responsibility
for responding to global compliance risks through active collaboration
and fast and effective information exchange with other tax
The Panama Papers revelations contain an unprecedented amount of
information, including more than 11 million documents covering
210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. Each transaction spans
across a number of different jurisdictions and may involve multiple
entities and individuals. The meeting at the OECD presents tax
administrations with a first opportunity to act on the considerable body
of information revealed by the Panama Papers release. As a network of
tax administrations committed to sharing intelligence and working
together to tackle common risks, the JITSIC network is well placed to
take on this challenge.
After the names of Indians holding overseas accounts appeared

The government set up the MAG comprising officials from the

RBI, IT department, Financial Intelligence Unit, Enforcement
Directorate and Foreign Tax and Tax Research to investigate
whether the money deposited in the tax haven is legal or illegal.
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The names were released by the International Consortium of

Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with Indian Express newspaper in
The ICIJ added a disclaimer that there are also legitimate uses
for offshore companies.





Group of Seven foreign ministers pledged support for the US-led

coalition to intensify and accelerate its fight against the Islamic
State group in Iraq and Syria. Terrorism is an urgent global
security threat that requires international collaboration and
unified responses, they said in a statement at the end of a two-day
meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
We strongly support the (Global) Coalitions resolve to intensify
and accelerate the campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. The
remarks come as the US-led coalition is stepping up pressure on
IS, which has suffered a string of territorial losses in recent
months in both Iraq and Syria. The coalition is carrying out air
strikes against the jihadist group, and is also providing training
and arms to Iraqi forces.
In response to the current threat level, we are working on a G7
action plan on countering terrorism that will include concrete
measures to enhance G7 and international counterterrorism
efforts, they said, adding that it would be adopted at a G7 leaders
summit in Japan next month. The G7 consists of Britain, Canada,
France, Germany, Japan, Italy and the US. The foreign policy
chief of the European Union also participated in this weeks


Third Global Connectivity Index report released by the Huawei during
the Global Analyst Summit 2016 in Shenzhen, China. The report sheds
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light on various global improvements in the field of connectivity. The

report measures the progress of 50 nations in investment and
deployment of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), sees
broadband connectivity and speeds improved enormously last year.
According to the report



In terms of numbers, the US, Singapore and Sweden top the

ranking while India is ranked 44.
India, with a GCI score of 30, ranks 44 and is seen as starter in
the world of ICT deployment.
India may not have a good rank, but the situation might change
rapidly next year.
The Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2016 notes initiatives like
Digital India are driving growth and improved broadband
This initiative will enable last-mile connectivity, connecting many
people for the first time, and enables a whole new opportunity for
the telecom operators.
These numbers come in at a time when India sees expanded 4G
rollout and start of local data centres.
The faster deployment of ICT infrastructure will enable cloud, big
data, and IoT.


The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB) signed the first co-financing framework agreement paving the
way for joint projects. In 2016, the AIIB expects to approve about $1.2
billion in financing, with World Bank joint projects anticipated to
account for a sizable share. The agreement in this regard was signed by
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank President Jin Liqun.
Signing this agreement enables our institutions to finance development
projects together, and that is an important first step toward working
with a new partner to address the worlds huge infrastructure needs,
said Kim. As the worlds multilateral development banks collaborate
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ever more closely, leveraging each others financing and expertise, the
people who will benefit the most will be the worlds poor, he said. Some
1.2 billion people in the world lack access to electricity and 2.4 billion
people dont have access to basic sanitation services. The World Bank
has invested $18.8 billion in infrastructure in the fiscal year ending
June 30, 2015.
According to an official release

The World Bank and the AIIB are currently discussing nearly a
dozen co-financed projects in sectors that include transport, water
and energy in Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia.

Under the agreement





The World Bank will prepare and supervise the co-financed

projects in accordance with its policies and procedures in areas
like procurement, environment and social safeguards.
The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in
which India is the second largest shareholder, was inaugurated in
January by President Xi Jinping.
With authorised capital of 100 billion and subscribed capital of
50 billion, the AIIB will invest in sectors including energy,
transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as
education and healthcare. It is expected to advance sustainable
economic development and to improve infrastructure in Asia.
Located in Beijing, AIIB aims to promote regional cooperation in
addressing development challenges working with other
multilateral and bilateral development institutions.


Pakistan and China began their fifth joint air exercise, Shaheen-V, at
an operational base in Pakistan. A contingent of Peoples Liberation
Army Air Force (PLAAF) comprising combat pilots, air defence
controllers and technical ground crew and a Pakistan Air Force (PAF)
contingent are participating in the exercises. The last such exercise

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between Pakistan and China Shaheen-IV was conducted in Beijing in

October 2015.
The exercise saw participation of three different types of frontline
fighter aircraft belonging too various PAF squadrons for the first time.
This exercise will enhance bilateral relationship and capability of the
air forces of the two friendly neighbours. PAF has been a regular
participant in a number of international air exercises with various air
forces, including the US Air Force (USAF), Italian Air Force, Turkish
Air Force and other allied countries. The spokesman said Pakistan and
China enjoy very close relationship spanning over six decades. The
strategic partnership has been further strengthened through the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor, infrastructure development and routine
joint military exercises, he added.


India asked the World Bank to increase its developmental fund to USD
100 billion a year from the existing USD 50-60 billion and called for
enhancing the share and voice of developing nations in the management
of institutions providing assistance under it.




The World Bank provides developmental assistance

through International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA) and the
International Finance Corporation (IFC).
These three institutions provide approximately USD 50-60 billion
per annum in concessional, non-concessional and private sector
Within next five years, we should work to raise annual financing
volumes from the World Bank Group to USD 100 billion a year,
said Jaitley, who is to attend the annual Spring Meeting of the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
This would be a kind of minimum contribution from the Bank
Group for the developing countries, in their task of bringing about
development and finance reconstruction. Observing that the
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World Bank is highly capital constrained, Jaitley said the IFC has
no space to invest today even at low level volumes it has been
doing for some years.
IBRD would not be able to maintain lending levels of even USD 20
billion per annum in two years time. To better reflect the
increasing weight ofDeveloping and Transition Countries (DTCs),
their share and voice in the management of these institutions also
needs to grow, Jaitley asserted.
We should therefore plan to have a Selective Capital Increase
(SCI) to raise Developing and Transition Countries (DTCs) voting
share to 50 per cent and a large general capital increase in IBRD
and IFC for being able to finance USD 100 billion per annum
going forward.
The time has come for raising partnership of DTCs in the IBRD
and IFC to 50 per cent.
This would require that the economic weight captured by GDP
remain the primary factor in the formula, with share of
purchasing power parity (PPP) based GDP of not less than 60 per
IDA has enormously useful role in financing development in low
income countries, but recognising IDA contributions in IBRD/IFC
share capital has adverse impact on voting share of developing
countries, he observed


The IMF asked member countries to refrain from all forms of
protectionism and competitive devaluationsas it emphasised on global
cooperation in combating corruption, reinvigorating global trade
integration and addressing international tax issues. In a communique
issued during the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the IMF asked its member countries
to refrain from all forms of protectionism and competitive devaluations
and to allow exchange rates to respond to changing fundamentals.
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The IMF said global cooperation is needed on several fronts. These

included ensuring a well-functioning international monetary
system, reinvigorating global trade integration and combating
corruption and improving governance.
Global cooperation is also needed on addressing international tax
issues including transparency, coping with challenges of noneconomic origin, including those pertaining to refugees.
It also sought global cooperation for consistently implementing
and completing the financial regulatory reform agenda, including
policies to transform the shadow banking sector into a stable
source of market-based finance.
Observing that the global economy continues to expand modestly,
the IMF said global growth, however, has been subdued for a long
time and the outlook has weakened somewhat since October.
Although recent developments point to some improvements in
sentiment, financial market volatility and risk aversion have
risen, reflecting partly the reappraisal of potential growth, the
communique said.
The significant slowdown in global trade growth also persists.
Recoveries in many advanced economies are restrained by a
combination of weak demand, low productivity growth and
remaining crisis legacies, the IMF said.
At the same time, geopolitical tensions, refugee crises and the
shock of a potential UK exit from the European Union pose
spillover risks, it added.
Reinforcing its commitment too strong, sustainable, inclusive, jobrich and more balanced global growth, the IMF said to achieve
this it will employ a more forceful and balanced policy mix.


Denmark has topped the list of the best countries in the world to raise a
family, according to a recent study. As per the research published
by Unicef, the Scandinavian country is followed by Finland, Norway
and Switzerland, the Independent reported. The organisations Fairness
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for Children report delved into inequalities in income, education, health

and life satisfaction between children in different countries around the


The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said on 19 April
2016 they are joining forces with other international organizations to
cooperate on tax issues and develop new tools and standards to halt tax
base erosion and evasion.

The new grouping, which will also include the United Nations and
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), will focus particularly on building effective tax systems
in developing economies, the partners said.
The effort was announced just weeks after the release of the socalled Panama Papers stirred outrage at the widespread use of
tax haven countries and shell companies by wealthy global elites
and corporations to hide assets and avoid paying taxes.
Global finance leaders at the IMF and World Bank spring
meetings in Washington last week pledged to crack down on such
tax evasion and base erosion, as well as to fight the exploitation of
tax law mismatches and boost the sharing of tax information.
Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of
20 major economies last week also pledged to penalize
countries that fail to cooperate in these efforts by implementing
defensive measures.
The decision by the four international organizations to create a
new cooperation platform predates the release of the Panama
Papers, but an IMF official said the group welcomed the
heightened attention on tax issues that the controversy has

Among the new groups goals is to develop appropriate policies for the
taxation of multinational enterprises. It aims to provide toolkits to
help developing countries implement measures developed under a
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previous G20/OECD tax effort, known as the Base Erosion and Profit
Shifting project.

The new group will hold physical meetings three times a year on the
sidelines of other major international economic conferences, such as
IMF and World Bank meetings. The group also aims to help emerging
market countries to develop policies for the informal sectors of their
economies that operate in cash transactions outside the tax system.
This effort will examine disincentives for small or micro businesses to
enter into tax compliance and the trade-offs associated with broadening
of the tax base.


Japans first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies as the
country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radardodging technology. Technological super power Japan, despite strict
constitutional constraints on the use of military force imposed after
world War II, has one of the worlds most advanced defence forces and
the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security
challenges in the form of Chinas expanding force posture.
1. The domestically developed X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in
central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation
enthusiasts watching the event erupted in applause as it lifted off
into the clear morning sky.
2. The single-pilot prototype safely landed at Gifu air base, north of
Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight with no particular
3. The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other
firms, measures 14.2 metres long and 9.1 metres wide and was

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built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the

United States.
4. Presently, only the United States, Russia and China have been
internationally recognised as having successfully developed and
flown manned stealth jets.
5. Japan began the project in 2009 and has reportedly spent about
39.4 billion yen (USD 332 million) to develop the aircraft.
6. The country was barred from developing aircraft for a number of
years after its defeat in World War II but eventually produced the
YS-11, a propeller passenger plane that began flying in the early


Britains annual rich list released has a distinctly Indian flavour with
two sets of India- born brothers Reuben and the Hinduja grabbing
the top two slots. Mumbai-born tycoonsDavid and Simon Reuben have
topped The Sunday Times Rich List 2016 with a fortune of 13.1 billion
pounds, followed by the Hinduja brothers at 13 billion pounds.
According to the list
1. The Reubens were born in India to a wealthy Iraqi-Jewish
family before moving to Britain in the 1950s and made their
fortune in metals and property. This year they have increased
their fortune by 3.4 billion pounds to jump to the top slot from last
years fifth position.
2. Their mouthwatering collection of London property includes
Millbank Tower, the John Lewis Partnership HQ in Victoria and
shops in Sloane Street. The list goes on. They own London Oxford
Airport and London Heliport and were a leading investor in Metro
Bank, which floated last month at 1.6 billion pounds, the
newspaper notes.
3. Overseas property and a metals operation add 300 million pounds,
while the hidden value in their London portfolio and their Global
Switch stake take the Reubens, who live in Switzerland, to 13.1
billion pounds.
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4. Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, who head the Hinduja Group,

hold on to their second rank from last year with an unchanged
fortune. The old War Office in Londons Whitehall was bought for
300 million pounds by the Hinduja family in March on a 250- year
lease. They plan to turn it into a hotel worth 1 billion, it noted.
5. Another Indian tycoon did not have a similarly fruitful year
with Lakshmi N Mittals steel empire taking a hit from the global
industry crisis and losing nearly three- quarters of his wealth. The
65-year-old ArcelorMittal chief held the top slot on the list back in
2008 with a whopping 27.7 billion pounds, which is now down to
just 7.12 billion this year. He slips to 11th on the list from 7th last
6. NRI steel tycoon Lord Swraj Paul and family are also among those
hit by the steel crisis, with their fortune registering a 66 per cent
drop to 740 million pounds, to be ranked 154th this year compared
to 44th in 2015. The turmoil in the steel industry hit Pauls
Caparo business last autumn when 16 of its companies went into
administration. Most of the firms and jobs were saved by Sanjeev
Gupta, who is interested in the Port Talbot steel complex. Indianborn Paul, 85, gives generously to charity, the rich list reads.
Completing this years top three is Warner Music owner Len
Blavatnik, who has 11.59 billion pounds. He has dropped two
places after a reduction in wealth by 1.58 billion pounds. Among
celebrity names, Sacha Baron Cohen, who made his name as Ali
G, and his actress wife Isla Fisher are in the list for the first time,
with a fortune of 105 million pounds. British racing driver Lewis
Hamilton also enters the main list for the first time, with 106
million pounds.
7. The UK has clocked 120 billionaires this year, the highest
recorded since 2006, but the number of London billionaires fell for
the first time since the financial crash from 80 in 2015 to 77. On
the global scale, India has a record 56 billionaires, compared to
193 in China and 43 in Russia. In a linked analysis of the 50
Richest in the World , Reliance brothers Mukesh and Anil
Ambani have been jointly ranked 30 with a fortune of 17.9 billion
pounds. They are the only India-based rich to feature in the top
50, which istopped by Walmarts Walton family with a fortune of
88.7 billion pounds
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A solar-powered airplane landed in California on 23 April 2016,
completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of
its journey around the world. Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar
Impulse 2 in Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley south of San
Francisco, at 11-45 p.m. following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without
fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where
Mr. Piccard was greeted by projects team.
1. The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii in July and was forced to
stay in the islands after the planes battery system sustained heat
damage on its trip from Japan. The team was delayed in Asia, as
well. When first attempting to fly from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii,
the crew had to divert to Japan because of unfavourable weather
and a damaged wing. A month later, when weather conditions
were right, the plane departed from Nagoya in central Japan for
Hawaii. The planes ideal flight speed is about 28 mph, though
that can double during the day when the suns rays are strongest.
The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about
as much as a midsize truck.
2. The planes wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747,
are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and
charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night. Solar
Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the United States before
crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa,
according to the website documenting the journey.

The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more

than $100 million, is meant to highlight the importance of
renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Solar-powered air
travel is not yet commercially practical, however, given the slow
travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.
Maybe it will be boring in 20 years when all the airplanes will be
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electric and people will say Oh its routine. But now, today, an
airplane that is electric, with electric engines, that produces its
own energy with the sun, it can never be boring, Mr. Piccard said.
Its a miracle of technology.


A solar-powered airplane landed in California on 23 April 2016,
completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of
its journey around the world. Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar
Impulse 2 in Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley south of San
Francisco, at 11-45 p.m. following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without
fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where
Mr. Piccard was greeted by projects team.
1. The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii in July and was forced to
stay in the islands after the planes battery system sustained heat
damage on its trip from Japan. The team was delayed in Asia, as
well. When first attempting to fly from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii,
the crew had to divert to Japan because of unfavourable weather
and a damaged wing. A month later, when weather conditions
were right, the plane departed from Nagoya in central Japan for
Hawaii. The planes ideal flight speed is about 28 mph, though
that can double during the day when the suns rays are strongest.
The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about
as much as a midsize truck.
2. The planes wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747,
are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and
charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night. Solar
Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the United States before
crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa,
according to the website documenting the journey.

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The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more

than $100 million, is meant to highlight the importance of
renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Solar-powered air
travel is not yet commercially practical, however, given the slow
travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.
Maybe it will be boring in 20 years when all the airplanes will be
electric and people will say Oh its routine. But now, today, an
airplane that is electric, with electric engines, that produces its
own energy with the sun, it can never be boring, Mr. Piccard said.
Its a miracle of technology.

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May 2016
The UN owes India USD 62 million the most it has to pay to any
country for contribution towards peacekeeping operations including
troops and equipment, the top official of the world body said. As on
March 31, 2016, the United Nations owed troop contributing countries a
total of USD 827 million, including USD 261 million in troop costs and
USD 480 million for equipment for active missions, Under-SecretaryGeneral for Management Yukio Takasu told reporters here yesterday.
Of this total, he said the UN owed the largest amount of USD 62
million to India, followed by Bangladesh at USD 59 million, Pakistan at
USD 49 million and Ethiopia at USD 47 million.
1. Money owed to troop contributing nations is always a source of
concern because it is very unfair for them that they provide all the
valuable troops, personnel and equipment and they are not
reimbursed timely because of financial problems.
2. At about 7,695 troops, India is currently the second largest
contributor among all UN troop contributors.
3. Traditionally, India has been among the largest contributor of
troops to UN peacekeeping operations, with nearly 1,80,000 troops
having served in over 44 of the 69 peacekeeping operations so far.
4. The country has repeatedly called for the Security Council to
consult troop contributing countries before drawing up
peacekeeping mandates given that troops now have to function in
increasingly difficult and hostile conflict situations across the
worlds hot-spots.
5. Among the countries that owe the UN money is the US, which has
to pay 1.3 billion dollars for peacekeeping and 917 million dollars
towards regular budget.

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Scientists claim to have discovered the worlds longest insect,
measuring over 62 centimeters in length, wriggling on a mountain road
in south China. The finding breaks the record for length for all 8,07,625
insects discovered so far, researchers said.

Previous record holder was 56.7 cm

1. The previous record holder was a stick insect found in Malaysia in
2008 which measured 56.7 cm and is currently at the Natural
History Museum in London.
2. Zhao Li, from the Insect Museum of West China (IMWC), found
the 62.4-cm-long stick insect in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region in 2014.
3. The insect has been named Phryganistria chinensis Zhao.


Sharp depreciation of yuan coupled with neighbours suspicions are
holding back China from the full roll out of its mega Silk Road project,
prompting the countrys think tanks to term the ambitious initiative as
a high risk project.

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The depreciation of yuan late last year raised the cost of currency
settlement for Chinese firms conducting overseas businesses, Chu Yin,
an associate professor at the University of International Relations said.
The use of the yuan as a settlement currency overseas is a problem as
the government is very cautious to take bold steps out of fear of
shorting the yuan in the offshore market, Chu was quoted as saying by
Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
1. The depreciation almost amounting to four per cent helped
Chinese exports to post better numbers but depreciated yuan
denominated overseas investments.
2. One Belt, One Road (official name of Silk Road) is a high-risk
project. Its bound to see some ill-conceived projects in the future,
but it is more important to see how many are successful rather
than how many fail,.
3. The One Belt, One Road push also needed to maintain a low
profile to counter suspicion among neighbouring countries.
4. The Silk Road plan initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping
involved a maze of roads including the revival of ancient Silk Road
connecting China and Europe through Central Asia, Bangladesh,
China, India, Myanmar (BCIM),21st Maritime Silk Road
(MSR) and the USD 46 billion China, Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CEPC) through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
5. China has set up USD 40 billion Silk Road Fund to roll out the
6. India for its part backed only BCIM and declined to endorse the
MSR over its concerns of Chinese domination in Indian Ocean and
protested over CEPC as it goes through the PoK.
7. Chinese enterprises signed nearly 4,000 project contracts across
60 countries with a cumulative value of USD 92.6 billion u2013
last year.
8. The figure is equivalent to 44 per cent of Chinas total overseas
project contracts.
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China is deploying a newly-built medium-sized rocket to take heavy
payloads of up to 13.5 tonnes to its space missions especially the
space station currently under construction. It has taken
researchers eight years to develop the new-generation Long March-7
rocket, which can carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low Earth orbit, Li Hong,
director of the Carrier Rocket Technology Research Institute with the
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said.
1. The rocket departed for its launch base in Hainan from north
Chinas port of Tianjin.
2. The Long March-7 launch scheduled for late June will be of great
significance as it will usher in Chinas space lab mission, staterun Xinhua news agency quoted Yang Baohua, deputy manager of
the company as saying.
3. The space station regarded as a rival to Russian space station Mir
being jointly operated with the US is expected to be ready by 2022.
4. China plans to launch second experimental orbiting space lab,
Tiangong-2, this fall and it is scheduled to dock with manned
spacecraft Shenzhou-11 in the fourth quarter.
5. Yang said that the Long March-7 carrier is more environmentalfriendly than earlier Long March models.
6. The rocket will become the main carrier for space launches.


As one would-be father of bitcoin falls by the wayside, squabbling
among the web-based currencys lead developers is exposing a
fundamental flaw: it must evolve to meet growing demand, but may
lack a governance structure to achieve this. The latest bickering
erupted after Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright
promised to prove he was the mysterious creator of bitcoin which
allows users to move money across the world quickly and anonymously
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but then said he could not provide further evidence to back this up.
Wright stopped short of reneging on his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto,
assumed to be a pseudonym for the person or people who launched the
digital cryptocurrency in 2009. However, he apologised for damaging
the reputations of bitcoin experts who had believed him.
Many members of the bitcoin community reckon this is all a distraction
and agree with Wright when he said that the identity of Nakamoto
doesnt, and shouldnt, matter. Satoshis biggest achievement was to
create a system that doesnt require his participation to run, said Peter
Todd, one of bitcoins core software developers. Thats what makes all
this stuff kind of funny. Its like searching for the creator of a system
thats designed not to require a creator. While grey-suited central
bankers print conventional currencies and commercial banks control
transactions in them, no one person or entity is in charge of bitcoin.
Instead it runs on a decentralised system of shared trust without any
third-party verification of transactions one reason why many people
are attracted to it.
Critics, however, say it needs a benevolent dictator or at least some
adults to manage the expansion that it needs to cope with the
increasing number of transactions. Someone, or some group, must
decide how to meet users requirements, they say. Trades are handled
by of mining computers around the world which validate blocks of
transactions by competing to solve mathematical puzzles every 10
minutes. The first computer to solve the puzzle clears the transaction
and is currently rewarded with 25 new bitcoins, now worth around
$11,250.. This is how the computers owners cover their costs largely
power bills and make a profit. The system also ensures there is no
single point in the system that might fail.
In practice, there do appear to be people who can make decisions, but it
is also possible to be excluded from this magic circle. One of the bitcoin
experts who initially believed Wrights claim is Gavin Andresen.
Nakamoto handed control of bitcoins software to Andresen when he
stepped aside in 2011, a transfer that kept the creators identity a
mystery as it was conducted in cyberspace without human contact.
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Andresen later shared that control with others. But when he stated
publicly he believed Wright, skeptical developers responded by revoking
his commit access to a shared repository of bitcoin rules.


Average wealth of an Indian surged by 400 per cent in 10 years to
2015 while that of a European citizen declined by 5 per cent during the
period, says a report by New World Wealth.
The report said that in emerging markets such as India, China and
Vietnam, average wealth has gone up by over 400 per cent during the
10-year period (2005-15).
As per report
1. The average European citizen is currently worth around USD
86,000. During the past 10 years (2005 2015) this figure
has declined by 5 per cent.
2. This compares poorly to other developed markets as the average
wealth of a person in Australia has increased by over 100 per
cent and in Canada by over 50 per cent in the same period.
3. One of the major issues that has deterred wealth creation in
Europe is migration of wealthy people out of Europe (mainly to
countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, the Caribbean and
4. The global financial crisis in 2008 and the related housing crisis,
had also heavily impacted on the wealth of most European
5. Other reasons being, rising income tax rates, which deterred new
business formation and loss of jobs to Asia, particularly in the
manufacturing sector and inability of certain countries to handle
large pension obligations (like Greece).
6. Going forward, Europe is expected to continue to lose primary
sector jobs to Asia, particularly to emerging countries such as:
China, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Vietnam. The also
expect that the exodus of wealthy people out of Europe will
continue and even accelerate in many cases.
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7. In terms of wealth growth, certain Eastern European countries

such as Poland is likely to perform well, the report said and added
that we do not expect much growth to come from Western and
Southern Europe in particular, large European economies such
as Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain will struggle.
8. The report refers Wealth as net assets of a person. It includes all
their assets (property, cash, equity, business interests) less any


Evidence is mounting that the current outbreak of yellow fever is
becoming the latest global health emergency, say two Georgetown
University professors who call on the World Health Organization to
convene an emergency committee under the International Health
In addition, with frequent emerging epidemics, they call for the creation
of a standing emergency committee to be prepared for future health
An epidemic of yellow fever, first reported in January, has been
spreading rapidly in Angola. As of last month, the country had 2,023
suspected yellow fever cases and 258 deaths. The Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) declared an epidemiological alert on April 22 for
yellow fever in Latin America, where the Aedes aegypti mosquito vector
is also actively transmitting Zika and dengue viruses.
Vaccine supply shortages could spark a health security crisis, say the
professors, pointing out that spread of yellow fever has already taken
place in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where efforts to
vaccinate two million people are planned. Gostin and Lucey point out
that an emergency committee meeting would allow its members to
advise the Director-General on the epidemic and trigger discussions
about a surge in vaccine production even if a public health emergency of
international concern (PHEIC) is not declared.

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Finally, the professors say time has come to consider a more efficient
way to manage potential public health emergencies. The complexities
and apparent increased frequency of emerging infectious disease
threats, and the catastrophic consequences of delays in the
international response, make it no longer tenable to place sole
responsibility and authority with the Director-General to convene
currently ad hoc emergency committees, Lucey and Gostin write.
Instead, they support establishing a standing emergency committee
that would meet regularly to advise the Director-General.


Mriya (dream in Ukrarian), the largest aircraft in the world, landed at
the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad in the early
hours on 13 May 2016. The deafening roar of 6 mighty engines of
the Antonov An-225 shattered the midnight silence on the outskirts of
The 640-tonne, maximum take-off weight, behemoth arrived from
Turkmenbashi in Central Asia and will proceed to Jakarta. The aircraft
is destined for Perth, Australia. The aircraft is carrying a 133-tonne
generator for a Western Australian mining company along with a crew
of 21. The total journey involves a flying time of about 26 hours spread
over 3 days. The Mriya will be taking rest at the RGIA for 20 hours for

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Agreement with Antonov

1. Reliance Defence has signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement
with Antonov of Ukraine for assembly, manufacture and MRO of
Antonov platforms in India, both for the commercial and military
market. Reliance Defense and Antonov would jointly address
various requirements, including 50-80 seat passenger aircraft
program of the HAL.
2. An (Antonov) class of aircraft have long served the IAF and Navy
for over 5 decades. Currently, the IAF has more than 100 An-32
aircraft on its inventory, having completed its last life cycle
upgrade they will be due for replacements soon.
3. India has requirement of over 200 medium lift turbofan aircraft
valued at Rs 35,000 crore for its armed forces. The programme
will be located at Indias first integrated Aerospace Park i.e.
Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park at MIHAN, Nagpur.

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The defence capabilities possessed by the US, Russia and India are
among the main factors driving China to modernise its nuclear
force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities, the Pentagon has said.
In a report to Congress detailing Chinas nuclear power, Pentagon said
the country was deploying new command, control and communications
capabilities to its nuclear forces to improve control of multiple units in
the field.
The report said
1. China, it said, insists that the new generation of mobile missiles,
with warheads consisting of multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs) and penetration aids, are intended to
ensure the viability of its strategic deterrent in the face of
continued advances in the US and, to a lesser extent, Russian
strategic ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance),
precision strike, and missile defence capabilities.
2. Indias nuclear force is additional driver behind Chinas nuclear
force modernisation.
3. Through the use of improved communication links, ICBM
(intercontinental ballistic missile) units now have better access to
battlefield information and uninterrupted communications
connecting all command echelons.
4. China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter
the US and other countries ballistic missile defence systems,
including manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs), MIRVs,
decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding.
5. China has acknowledged that it tested a hypersonic glide vehicle
in 2014. The countrys official media also cited numerous PLASAF
(Peoples Liberation Army Second Artillery Force) training
exercises featuring manoeuvre, camouflage, and launch operations
under simulated combat conditions, which are intended to
increase survivability.

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Chinas nuclear arsenal currently consists of approximately 75-100

ICBMs, including the silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 (DF-5A) and Mod 3(DF5B), the solid-fueled, road-mobile CSS-10 Mod 1 and Mod 2 (DF-31 and
DF-31A), and the more-limited-range CSS-3 (DF-4). This force is
complemented by road-mobile, solid-fueled CSS-5 Mod 6 (DF-21) MRBM
for regional deterrence missions. Further increases in the number of
mobile ICBMs and the beginning ofSSBN deterrence patrols will force
the PLA to implement more sophisticated C2 systems and processes
that safeguard the integrity of nuclear release authority for a larger,
more dispersed force.
The Pentagon said China continues to produce the JIN-class nuclearpowered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), with four commissioned
and another under construction. The JIN will eventually carry the CSSNX-14 (JL-2) SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) with an
estimated range of 7,200 km. Together these will give the PLAN its first
credible long-range sea-based nuclear capability. JIN SSBNs based at
Hainan Island in the South China Sea would then be able to conduct
nuclear deterrence patrols, it said.


The worlds first artificial intelligence lawyer has been employed by a
law firm in the US, which will use the robot to assist its various teams
in legal research. The robot called ROSS is built upon Watson, IBMs
cognitive computer. With the support of Watsons cognitive computing
and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers can ask ROSS
their research question and the robot reads through the law, gathers
evidence, draws inferences and returns highly relevant, evidence-based
answers. ROSS also monitors the law around the clock to notify users of
new court decisions that can affect a case.
1. The programme continually learns from the lawyers who use it to
bring back better results each time.
2. BakerHostetler, a US-based law firm, will license ROSS for use in
its Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors Rights team.
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3. At Baker Hostetler, we believe that emerging technologies like

cognitive computing and other forms of machine learning can help
enhance the services we deliver to our clients, said Bob Craig,
Chief Information Officer.
4. ROSS Intelligence, the company that built ROSS, began out of
research at the University of Toronto in 2014 with the goal of
building an artificial intelligence legal research assistant to allow
lawyers to enhance and scale their abilities.
5. Just ten months after they began teaching ROSS bankruptcy law,
the company has been commercialising its first offering.


China has proposed an international scientific cooperation programme
for Earth observation to provide digital backing toBeijings mega Silk
Road Project. The digital Silk Road proposal was put forward at an
international symposium on Earth observation for the Belt and Road,
the official designation for Silk Road. The event was attended by
over 300 Earth observation scholars and experts from more than 40
countries and regions along the Belt and Road, as well as international
organisations like UNESCO. Guo Huadong, an academician of
theChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said space-based Earth
observation technology will help enhance peoples understanding of the
Belt and Road in a faster, broader and more accurate way.
The digital Silk Road programme will hopefully provide statistics and
environmental information for the Belt and Road Initiative and support
decision making. Fu Bojie, another CAS academician, expressed hope
that the Earth observation technology may be used to promote research
on natural resources in countries along the Belt and Road, paving the
way for more bilateral and multilateral cooperation, state run Xinhua
news agency reported. This digital Silk Road programme will be
scientific, open and cooperative and will welcome more countries,
organisations and scholars to participate.

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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack of 56 Indian
firms in Forbess annual list of the worlds 2,000 largest and most
powerful public companies, with the US leading the list with 586
companies. The 2016 Forbes Global 2000 , a snapshot of the worlds
largest companies, shows the dominance of US and China in the current
global business landscape. The 2016 list features public companies from
63 countries that together account for USD 35 trillion in revenue, USD
2.4 trillion in profit, USD 162 trillion of assets, and have a combined
market value of USD 44 trillion. Overall, 586 US companies make the
list, to 249 for China (mainland and Hong Kong), 219 for Japan, 92 from
the United Kingdom and 67 from South Korea.
As per Forbes
US and China-based companies dominate the top 10, with only
Japans Toyota Motor at the 10th tenth preventing a clean
sweep for the two nations.
Indias tally of 56 of the worlds biggest companies remains the
same as last year and Reliance Industries maintains its top
position of leading the largest public companies in India.
Reliance improved its ranking this year to 121 from 142 last
years, with a market value of USD 50.6 billion and assets
worth USD 91.5 billion.
Reliance is followed by State Bank of India which is ranked
149 and has a 23.3-billion-dollar market value.
The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas
ranked (220), ICICI Bank (266), HDFC Bank (275), Indian Oil
(371), Tata Consultancy Services (385), NTPC (400), Bharti
Airtel (453), Axis Bank (484), Infosys (590), Bharat Petroleum
(650), Wipro (755, Tata Steel (1178) and Adani Enterprises
Also making to the list are Coal India (465), Larsen and Toubro
(505), ITC (781), Kotak Mahindra Bank (899), Mahindra and
Mahindra (901) and HCL Technologies (943).

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Chinese banks held on to the top three spots in the list, a

comprehensive annual ranking of the worlds largest public
Chinese banks held on to the top three spots in the list, a
comprehensive annual ranking of the worlds largest public
companies. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China
Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China held onto
their leading positions, despite a slowing Chinese economy that
hurt profits and knocked peer Bank of China from fourth place
to sixth.
The biggest public companies in the US include Warren
Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway which gained one spot to fourth
overall in 2016, technology giant Apple ranked 8th, Bank of
America (11), Wal Mart (15), Microsoft (23), IBM (41) and
Goldman Sachs (77).
The US companies accounted for a combined USD 11.6 trillion
in revenue, down 3 per cent from last year, and USD 891 billion
in profit, down 13 per cent. Facebook climbed 92 spots to 188th
on the overall list, while Amazon jumped 222 spots to 236th


Group of Seven (G7) leaders voiced concern about emerging economies
at a summit in Japan on 26 May 2016 as their host, Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, made a pointed comparison to the 2008 global financial
crisis but not all his G7 partners appeared to agree
. They did agree on the need for flexible spending to spur world
growth but the timing and amount depended on each country, Deputy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters, adding some
countries saw no need for such spending.
Britain and Germany have been resisting calls for fiscal stimulus.
G7 leaders voiced the view that emerging economies are in a severe
situation, although there were views that the current economic
situation is not a crisis, Mr. Seko said after the first day of a two-day
G7 summit in Ise-Shima, central Japan.
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Maritime security
1. Other summit topics include terrorism, cybersecurity and maritime security, especially Chinas increasing
assertiveness in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing
has territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian
2. G7 leaders agreed that it was important to send a clear signal on
the South and East China Seas.
3. China was mentioned in discussions on maritime matters on 26
May 2016.
4. Japan welcomed Chinas peaceful rise while repeating Tokyos
opposition to acts that try to change the status quo by force and
urging respect of the rule of law principles expected to be
mentioned in a statement after the summit.

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June 2016
Gotthard Base Tunnel opens after nearly two decades of construction
under the Alps officially opened on 1st June 2016.
The 57-kilometer long (35-mile long) tunnel creates a high-speed rail
link deep beneath the famous mountain range, connecting northern and
southern Europe.
Reaching a depth of 2,300 meters (7,545 feet, almost 1.5 miles) the
tunnel will slice an hour off the travel time between Zurich,
Switzerland, and Milan, Italy.


Proposals for the base tunnel date back to 1947, but the project
wasnt approved until 1992, following a voter referendum.
Over the course of 17 years, workers excavated more than 28
million tons of rock from the site, which they repurposed as
concrete for the tunnel.

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Full service is expected to begin in December, with passenger

trains traveling at a maximum speed of 155 miles per hour. When
service begins, the travel time between Zurich and Milan will be
reduced by an hour.

Five countries including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan accounted for
more than half of the terror attacks that took place across the globe in
2015, a US official has said. More than 55 percent of all attacks took
place in five countries, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria,
Acting US Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell told
reporters in a news conference.
As per report
1. 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five
countries, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria.
2. Terror attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were
heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the
past several years.
3. The total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13
percent as compared to 2014.
4. Total fatalities due to terrorist attacks decreased by 14 per cent,
principally as a result of fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq,
Pakistan, and Nigeria. This represents the first decline in total
terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities worldwide since 2012.
5. At the same time, there were several countries,
including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey,
where terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sri Lanka and
Maldives have eliminated elephantiasis, also called lymphatic filariasis
(LF). The WHO termed LF a disease that was crippling people for
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decades, forcing them to lead a life of stigma, discrimination and

A statement hosted on the website of the WHOs regional office
for South-East Asia said the success in Maldives and Sri Lanka
followed intensified mosquito control efforts; treatment of the infected
population, disability prevention and control; strengthening of
surveillance; and closely monitoring and evaluating these efforts which
together helped eliminate LF as a public health problem.
Shows the countries resolve
1. The achievement by Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the
resolve of these countries and the Region as awhole to eliminate
all neglected tropical diseases [NTD], which have no reason to
continue and mar the lives of people, Poonam Khretrapal Singh,
Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said.
2. Eliminating NTDs is also critical to sustainable development goals
which emphasises on no one being left behind.


The worlds biggest cruise ship has arrived in Barcelona, which it will
use as its summer base for Mediterranean journeys. The $1
billion Harmony of the Seas docked in the Spanish port before dawn on
5 June 2016 at the end of its inaugural voyage from Southampton in the
United Kingdom.

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1. The French-built ship is taller than the Eiffel Tower and is the
widest cruise ship ever built. It can carry 6,360 passengers.
2. The 16-deck ship is 362-metre-long (1,187 feet) and boasts more
than 2,500 staterooms, 20 dining venues, 23 swimming pools and
a park with more than 10,000 plants and 50 trees.
3. Before arriving in Barcelona the Harmony of the Seas docked in
Vigo in the northwest and at Malaga, dwarfing the small
Mediterranean port.


Four Indian women, including SBI Managing director Arundhati
Bhattacharya and ICICI Bank Managing director Chanda Kochhar, are
in the new list of Forbes worlds 100 most powerful women who are
building billion-dollar brands and calling the shots in the financial
The Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the world list 2016, topped
by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, includes PepsiCo
Chief Indra Nooyi, Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and HT
Media head Shobhana Bhartia.
As per list
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1. Forbes said this years most powerful women are the smartest
and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors,
scientists, philanthropists and CEOsmaking their mark in the
world today.
2. Theyre women who are building billion-dollar brands, calling the
shots in the financial markets, and crisscrossing the globe to
broker international agreements and provide aid, the magazine
3. Ms. Bhattacharya, 60, ranked 25th on the list, is facing her most
challenging test yet with State Bank of India facing mounting
bad loans, which stood at USD 11 billion in December, Forbes
4. Ms Kochhar comes in on the 40th spot and Forbes said as boss of
the countrys largest private-sector lender, Ms. Kochhar, 54 has to
contend with the current bane of Indias banking system: bad
5. Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw is ranked 77th on the list. The 63-year old
self-made business leader positioned Biocon as a large player in
insulin and her company is the only Asian firm ranked among the
top 20 biotech employers worldwide by Science magazine.
6. Ms. Bhartia is ranked 93rd on the list and the 59-year-old media
baroness serves as chairperson and editorial director for Indias
largest listed media company, HT Media.
7. Ms. Nooyi is ranked 14th on the list and Forbes said in May 2016,
she successfully sidestepped a proxy war with activist investor
Nelson Peltzs Trian Fund, which had pressured the company to
split, by adding another board member.
8. The list also includes Democratic presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton on the second spot, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
(3), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (7), US First Lady Michelle
Obama (13), Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (26),
Queen Elizabeth II (29), Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina (36), Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari (52) and
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova (89).

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Health Minister J.P. Nadda reiterated Indias commitment to fast track
progress on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 on the high-level
meeting on HIV/AIDS at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
on 9 June 2016. At the meeting, member states adopted a new political
declaration, including time-bound global targets to be reached over the
next five years and end the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

1. The UNGA meeting brings together heads of state and
government, people living with HIV (PLHIVs), and donor
organisations, to reiterate their commitments made in the
Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and to set the world
on course to end the epidemic by 2030 within the framework of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
2. India has proposed a five-point strategy to end AIDS. India was
committed toenforcing TRIPS flexibilities to make drugs
3. India is proud of being one of the leading partners in the global
fight against AIDS epidemic. These remarkable successes would
not have been possible without access to affordable medicines.
4. The low-cost generic medicines produced by the Indian
pharmaceutical industry have been instrumental in scaling up
access to HIV treatment not only in India but in other parts of the
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5. More than 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally are

supplied by the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
The five-point strategy

Adoption of the fast track target

Reaching 90% of all people in need of HIV treatment
Committed to maintaining the TRIPS flexibilities
Creating an inclusive society with programmes that work towards
restoring the respect and dignity of individuals
5. Global solidarity.
The world has achieved Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6
which was to halt and reverse the AIDS epidemic by 2015. However,
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that an action taken now
could avert an estimated 17.6 million new infections and 11 million
premature deaths between 2016 and 2030. That requires commitment
at every level: from the global health infrastructure to all Member
States, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations,
to the United Nations Security Council that has dealt with AIDS as a
humanitarian issue and a threat to human and national security. The
Secretary-General called on the international community to reinforce
and expand on the unique, multi-sector, multi-actor approach of
UNAIDS, and to ensure that the annual target of $26 billion in funding,
including $13 billion for the next three years, is met.


The Afghan Senate on 12 June 2016 thanked India for the construction
of the landmark dam in Afghanistans Herat province at a cost of Rs
1,700 crore which was jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and President Ashraf Ghani on June 4. In its appreciation letter,
the Upper House of the National Assembly of Afghanistan hailed India
and its people for effective support and assistance to the war-ravaged
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1. The Upper House of the National Assembly of the Islamic
Republic of Afghanistan, on behalf of the people of Afghanistan,
would like to appreciate and thank the effective support and
assistance of the people and state of the friend and brother
country India.
2. The Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam,
on river Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat neighbouring Iran, will
help in irrigating 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 MW of
3. Touted as a landmark infrastructure project, the dam located
165 km east of Herat town, is expected to significantly boost the
agricultural economy of the province.
4. The project has been executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd,
a government of India undertaking under ministry of Water
Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation. Over
1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers were involved in the
construction of the dam for several years in difficult condition.
1. Earlier India had constructed the swanky Parliament complex
in Kabul at a cost of USD 90 million.

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2. India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is

implementing projects worth USD 2 billion to help rebuild the
countrys infrastructure.


Pakistan continues to be ahead of India when it comes to having higher
number of nuclear warheads and beats Israel as well as North Korea, a
report by a Stockholm-based think-tank said on 13 June 2016. The
report comes just days after disgraced nuclear scientist
A Q Khan, father of Pakistans nuclear programme, claimed that the
country had the ability to hit India in five minutes. The claim was
ridiculed by Indian experts who underlined that nukes should always
be weapons of deterrence and not offensive.
As per report

1. Pakistan is believed to have 110-130 nuclear warheads.

2. On the contrary, India is said to have about 100-120 nuclear
3. The US and Russia were slowly reducing their nuclear arsenals
they are modernising their capacities.
4. The other nuclear weapon-possessing states have much smaller
arsenals, but have all either begun to deploy new nuclear weapon
delivery systems or announced their intention to do so.
5. China appears to be gradually increasing its nuclear forces as it
modernises the arsenal.
6. India and Pakistan are both expanding their nuclear weapon
stockpiles and missile delivery capabilities. North Korea is
estimated to have enough fissile material for approximately 10
nuclear warheads. However, it is unclear whether North Korea
has produced or deployed operational weapons.
7. Last year also, Pakistan was ahead of India when it came to
nuclear warheads. While India was said to have about 90-110
nuclear warheads, Pakistan had 100-120 of them.
8. At the start of 2016, nine nations the US, Russia, the UK,
France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea
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possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear

9. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together
possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons
compared with 15,850 in early 2015.


China has successfully launched 23rd satellite to support its global
navigation and positioning network which is being developed to rival
the US Global Positioning System.The 23rd satellite in the BeiDou
Navigation Satellite System (BDS)

was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest

Chinas Sichuan Province. The satellite was put into orbit by a Long
March-3C carrier rocket.
It was the 229th launch of the Long March carrier rocket. The BDS
satellite system is being developed as an alternative to Americas Global
Positioning System (GPS). The satellite, after entering its designed
work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join 22 others already in
orbit and improve the stability of the system, preparing for BDS to offer
global coverage, the report said.

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The U.N. General Assembly elected Israel to chair one of its six major
committees for the first time on 13 June 2016, a decision denounced by
the Palestinians and Arab nations. In the secret ballot election in the
193-member world body, Israel received 109 yes

votes. Nobody voted against Israel but there were 23 abstentions, 14

invalid ballots, and 43 votes for other countries in the Western
European and Others group which nominated Israel to chair the
assembly committee dealing with legal issues. The legal committee
deals with U.N. activities related to international law and the Israeli
Ambassador said one of his first tasks will be to advance the
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
1. Israel, the United States and others have for years decried what
they see as an entrenched bias in United Nations institutions
against Israel and an obsession with the Palestinian issue at the
expense of other crises around the globe.
2. They point to numerous resolutions targeting Israel in the
Geneva-based Human Rights Council and in the General

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 22 June 2016 named electricity
minister Imad Khamis as the new prime minister of the war-ravaged
country. Mr. Assad tasked Mr. Khamis with forming a new
government, the official news agency SANA reported. He is to submit
his proposal for new ministerial appointments in the coming days.
The 54-year-old engineer replaces Wael al-Halqi who had held the post
since August 2012.
The changes come two months after Mr. Assads Baath party and its
allies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections dismissed
internationally as a sham. Mr. Khamis had served as Syrias minister of
electricity since 2011 and is an electrical engineer by trade. Since
March 2012, he has been sanctioned by the European Union, which
accuses him of sharing responsibility for the regimes violent
repression against the civilian population. Syrias conflict began in 2011
with widespread protests demanding reform but has since escalated
into a bloody civil war that has left 280,000 people dead. According to
the government, production of electricity has more than halved since
the beginning of the crisis.


The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Spain after completing a 70-hour flight
from New York in the first solo transatlantic crossing in a solarpowered airplane. Applause broke out as the experimental plane set
down at Seville airport in southern Spain where a team was on the
ground to welcome Swiss pilot and adventurer Bertrand Piccard, an
AFP correspondent said. Solar Impulse, which has just completed the
15th leg of its around-the-world trip, set out on March 9, 2015 in Abu
Dhabi, and has flown across Asia and the Pacific to the United States
with the sun as its only source of power.
The voyage marks the first solo transatlantic crossing powered only by
sunlight and Piccard has been getting little sleep as he survives on
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short catnaps. Solar Impulse is being flown on its 35,400-kilometre trip

around the world in stages, with Piccard and his Swiss compatriot
Andre Borschberg taking turns at the controls of the single-seat plane.


With a band playing and flags waving, a Chinese ship carrying more
than 9,000 containers on 26 June 2016 entered the newly expanded
locks that will double the Panama Canals capacity in a multibilliondollar bet on a bright economic future despite tough times for
international shipping. Several tug boats pulled Cosco Shipping
Panama into the new locks at Agua Clara under a cloudy sky in Colon
province, about 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) north of the capital. This
is the route that unites the world, said Panamanian President Juan
Carlos Varela. A look at the Panama Canal and its newly expanded
locks, which were formally inaugurated on 26 June 2016:

The Canal:
Opened on Aug. 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was constructed by the
United States between 1904 and 1913 at a cost of $375 million, building
on an earlier, French-led effort that fizzled. An estimated 20,000
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workers died during French control of the project, many due to tropical
diseases such as malaria, and 5,600 more perished during U.S.
construction. The canal revolutionized global sea traffic by replacing
long voyages around Cape Horn at the tip of South America.
The Operations:
The canal was under U.S. control until a 1977 agreement between
Presidents Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos paved the way for
itstransfer to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999. Canal authorities say it
generated $10 billion in direct income for the Panamanian state
through 2015. With related economic activity, the canal is responsible
for about 40 percent of Panamas GDP. On average, 35 to 40 ships
transit the waterway each day, and the canal is estimated to handle 6
percent of worlds maritime commerce.
The New Locks:
The $5.25 billion project was initially scheduled for completion
in October 2014, roughly coinciding with the canals 100th anniversary,
but was delayed by slow approvals for concrete to use in the locks, labor
strikes and leaks detected late last year. The expansion includes two
new sets of lock complexes, one on the Pacific coast on the outskirts of
Panama City and one on the northern coast at Colon.
The New Ships:
The new locks are 180 feet wide and 1,400 feet long, big enough to
accommodate New Panamax-class vessels that are seen as the future of
global shipping. Those ships can reach 1,200 feet long more than three
football fields and are up to 160 feet wide. They can carry 13,000 to
14,000 cargo containers, about 2 1/2 to 3 times as many as on vessels
that could fit in the previous locks. The International Monetary Fund
estimates the canal expansion will reduce global maritime shipping
costs by $8 billion a year.
The First Ship:

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Originally called the Andronikos, the ship making the inaugural voyage
through the new locks was renamed the COSCO Shipping Panama by
its Chinese owner in honor of Panama and the ceremonial passage. Its
a Marshall Islands-flagged container vessel with a capacity of 9,472
shipping containers and is 158 feet wide and 984 feet long. It entered
the Atlantic locks Sunday morning for an approximately eight-hour
transit to the Pacific locks.


China is a potential winner if Britain and the European Union rework
trade deals and look for investors after a British exit.
Beijing faces a blow from weaker European demand for its exports and
pressure to hold its yuan steady in turbulent currency markets. But
economists and political analysts say if Britain and the EU split, both
sides will look to cash-rich Chinese companies that are expanding
abroad with the possible bonus for Beijing of closer political ties.
One of the benefits China can gain from Brexit is a stronger and closer
economic relationship with the U.K. and even with the EU. Both the
U.K. and the EU need that kind of cooperation with China under the
current circumstances. Chinese leaders urged Britain to stay in the 28nation EU and have avoided mentioning possible benefits of a split.
Europe is Chinas biggest trading partner, and Chinese investors
already see the region as more welcoming than the United States,
where some acquisitions have been stymied by security concerns.
Chinese companies own Frances Club Med, the makers of Pirelli tires,
Volvo cars and Weetabix cereal and football teams Inter Milan of Italy
and Aston Villa of Britain. London is the second-biggest center outside
mainland China for settling transactions valued in Beijings yuan.
Britain has technology China needs as the ruling Communist Party
tries to evolve beyond low-skilled manufacturing, said Lu Zhengwei,
chief economist for Industrial Bank in Shanghai. China will benefit
from industrial development experience in the U.K., said Mr. Lu. I do
recommend seizing the opportunity to establish ChinaU.K. free trade
to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
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The EU and the United States accuse China of exporting steel at

improperly low prices, hurting foreign competitors and threatening
thousands of jobs. Washington imposed anti-dumping duties of up
to 522 percent but British resistance blocked the EU from imposing
higher tariffs. In the short run, European uncertainty might depress
demand for Chinese goods, but trade matters less to China than it did a
decade ago. China is the worlds biggest trader but exports as a share of
the economy declined last year to 22 percent from 2007s 33 percent. A
more serious problem is downward pressure on Chinas yuan in
currency markets, according to economists.
The British pound and the euro currency used by 17 EU countries have
sunk relative to the dollar. As currencies of other developing countries
also weaken, the Chinese central bank will be forced to decide whether
to let the yuan, also called the renminbi, fall with them or stick closer to
the dollar. Last year, the Peoples Bank of China spent tens of billions of
dollars to prop up the yuan after a change in the mechanism used to set
its exchange rate allowed it to fall. That fuelled expectations that
Beijing was weakening the currency to boost exports and prompted
investors to move capital out of China. If the dollar gains against the
yuan, this could set off a renewed bout of fears over renminbi
depreciation and a pick-up in capital outflows.


China successfully launched its Long March-7 carrier rocket,
which will help in the countrys five-year plan for the space sector and a
planned space station which is set to be operational by 2022. The 53metre rocket carried a prototype next-generation crew capsule in
the first-ever liftoff from the nations new launch center, Hainan
Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China, so officials could
find out how the vessel fared during re-entry.
In a parachute aided landing, the dummy spacecraft landed successfully
in the Badain Jaran Desert in Northwest China. It spent 20 hours in
orbit. This rocket is the middle child in a trio of new Chinese rockets
which includes a heavy-life launch system called the Long March 5 and
a lighter carrier called the Long March 6. It was designed to collect
aerodynamic and heat data for a re-entry capsule, to verify key
technologies such as detachable thermal protection structure and
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lightweight metal materials manufacturing, and to carry out blackout

telecommunication tests.
China had launched its first manned spaceflight in 2003. Tiangong-1,
the first space lab was sent in 2011. The final step will be to put
together and operate a space station by 2022. To achieve that, China
has planned four space launches in the next ten months. The Long
March-7 mission is the first of these missions. Yang Baohua, deputy
manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, on 28
June 2016, said China is expected to have more than 200 spacecraft in
orbit by 2020 and perform about 30 launches per year on average. The
probe [Mars mission 2020] is expected to orbit the red planet, land and
deploy a rover all in one mission, which is quite difficult to achieve, said
Xu Dazhe, director of Chinas National Space Administration, ahead of
celebrations on April 24 which marked Chinas first satellite launch
which was 46 years ago.

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July 2016
Saudi Arabia was on 3 July 2016 unanimously elected as the
International Cricket Councils (ICC) 39th Associate
Member during its full council meeting in Edinburgh. Saudi Cricket
Centre (SCC) has been an Affiliate Member of the ICC since 2003 and,
as per a 2014 census, boasts of 4,350 cricketers and 80 dedicated cricket
The SCCs application for Associate Membership had been pre-approved
by the ICC development committee during its October 2015 meeting,
which was followed by a full application and an ICC inspection in
March 2016.


Poverty, illiteracy and early death await disadvantaged children,
according to a UNICEF report. Based on current trends, 69 million
children under 5 years of age will die from mostly preventable
causes, 167 million children will live in poverty, and 750 million women
will have been married as children by 2030the target date for the
Sustainable Development Goals-unless the world focuses more on the
plight of its most disadvantaged children.

1. The state of the worlds children, UNICEFs annual flagship

report, paints a stark picture of what is in store for the worlds
poorest children, if governments, donors, businesses and
international organisations do not accelerate efforts to address
their needs.
2. The report notes that significant progress has been made in
saving childrens lives, getting them into school and lifting people
out of poverty.
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3. Global under-five mortality rates have been more than halved

since 1990, boys and girls attend primary school in equal numbers
in 129 countries, and the number of people living in extreme
poverty worldwide is almost half of what it was in the 1990s.
4. But this progress has been neither even nor fair, the report says.
The poorest children are twice as likely to die before their fifth
birthday and to be chronically malnourished than the richest.
5. Across much of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children born
to mothers with no education are almost three times more likely to
die before they are five than those born to mothers with a
secondary education. And girls from the poorest households are
twice as likely to marry as children than girls from the wealthiest
6. Although education plays a unique role in levelling the playing
field for children, the number of children who do not attend school
has increased since 2011, and a significant proportion of those
who do go to school are not learning.
7. Globally, about 124 million children today do not go to primary
and lower-secondary school, and almost 2 in 5 who do finish
primary school have not learnt how to read, write or do simple


China has declared that it now has the worlds largest spherical radio
telescope at 500 meters. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical
Telescope (FAST) has been completed at a cost of approximately 180
million dollars and took about five years to complete The radio
telescope, which is expected to become operational in September this
year, has a massive reflector comprising of 4,450 panels, which experts
say is equivalent in size to 30 football fields.
1. The radio telescope is expected to be used to search
for extraterrestrial life and upgrades and adjustments will be
made to it over the next three years.
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2. Its focus will be on detecting pulsars, gravitational waves and

eventually amino acids, which would confirm life on other planets.
3. The 300-meter-wide Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico
was previously the worlds largest in terms of diameter.
4. In order to ensure total radio silence within a five-kilometer
radius around FAST, over 9,000 people will be moved out of the
5. Nestled in a rural area of Chinas Guizhou province, FAST was
built in an isolated valley, which is important for radio telescopes.
6. The displaced families have been moved to a neighbouring
province and given a compensation of 10,000 yuan (roughly USD
1,500), which translates to an average years salary in the area.


India has slipped two places to 91st position on a global list of countries
in terms of their readiness for transition to a digitised economy and
society, while Singapore remains on top. Among the major emerging
markets, India is ranked the lowest with Russia retaining the top place
at 41st rank, followed by China at 59th (up three places), South Africa
up 10 places at 65th and Brazil moving up to 72nd position.
As per Index
The annual Networked Readiness Index released today by
Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) is once again topped
by Singapore while Finland has also retained its second place.
Others in the top-ten are Sweden, Norway, the US, the
Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, Luxembourg and Japan.
The index, forming part of the WEFs Global Information
Technology Report, measures countries success in creating the
conditions necessary for a transition to a digitised economy and
Indias position on the list has come down for the fourth year in a
row, from 89th in 2015, 83rd in 2014 and 68th in 2013.
While the country has scored better in terms of political and
regulatory environment (78th position), it fares worse in terms of
business and innovation environment (110th).

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In terms of infrastructure it is even worse at 114th place, while it

is ranked very high at 8th place in terms of affordability. India
also fares poorly on sub-indices for skills and individual usage.
Lack of infrastructure (114th) and low levels of skills among the
population (101st) remain the key bottlenecks to widespread ICT
adoption, especially in terms of individual usage (120th), WEF
The report further noted that a third of the Indian population is
still illiterate and a similar share of youth is not enrolled in
secondary education.
Only 15 out of 100 households have access to the Internet and
mobile broadband remains a privilege of the few, with only 5.5
subscriptions for every 100 people, it said but added that a divide
persists between well-connected metropolitan hubs and remote
rural areas.
In 2015, India launched the Digital India programme, which aims
to close this gap by fostering investment in digital infrastructure,
improving digital literacy, and increasingly providing online
services to citizens.
Indias performance in terms of providing online services and
allowing e-participation has so far been in line with that of peer
countries, but far from the global best (57th and 40th,


China on 6 July 2016 inducted its largest indigenously-built transport
aircraft Y-20, a breakthrough in military aviation technology for the
Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) that allows the worlds largest force to
transport cargo and troops over long distances in diverse weather
conditions. The Y-20 entering into service marks a crucial step for the
Air Force improving its strategic power projection capability. With a
maximum takeoff weight of 200 tonnes, the Y-20, which officially joined
the PLA Air Force in Chengdu, is ideal for transporting cargo and
personnel over long distances in diverse weather conditions, state-run
Xinhua news agency reported.

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The Air Force needs more and better transport to better fulfil its
military responsibilities, including safeguarding national security as
well as domestic and international rescue and relief work, Shen said.
The Air Force has provided aid and delivered relief supplies
to Pakistan, Mongolia, Thailand, Nepal and other countries as they
were hit by disasters in recent years. The indigenously designed and
developed Y-20 took its maiden flight in January 2013 and made its
debut at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace
Exhibition in November 2014, Chinese officials said.
The plane is comparable to the Russian-made IL-76 and the US C-17.
PLA officials earlier said Y-20 is more advanced than the IL-476. The
plane which made its maiden flight in January 2013 and underwent
trials runs including in the rugged Tibetan terrain will make troop
deployment easier, enabling the military to act more promptly and
respond to emergencies in a better manner, officials said. It is also
regarded as a major breakthrough in military aviation technology for
the PLA which is more reliant on Russian-made planes so far. Besides
manufacturing J-15, Chinas first-generation multipurpose aircraft for
the newly-built aircraft carrier, Chinese military has testedJ-31, a fifth
generation aircraft, and stealth fighter J-20, which PLA officials claim
to be comparable with US versions.
Also China together with Pakistan manufactures J-17 lightweight,
single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft. As China made new
breakthroughs in aviation technology, its all-weather ally Pakistan has
evinced interest in acquiring the new planes especially the J-31 and J20. While China made advances in developing new planes, it is still
reliant on Russian engines for almost all planes including the latest
versions for mass production.


A Soyuz space capsule carrying astronauts from Russia, Japan and the
United States has docked with the International Space Station after a
two-day voyage. The
docking took place smoothly on 9 July 2016 at a height of 412
kilometers (254 miles) above the Earth.
The crew is to enter the space laboratory after the lengthy procedure to
open the hatches connecting the space station and the capsule. The
capsule is carrying Russian commander Anatoly Ivanishin, NASAs
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Kathleen Rubins and Takuya Onishi of the Japanese space agency

JAXA. They will join American Jeff Williams and Russians Oleg
Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. The capsule blasted off from Russias
manned space complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.


The Chinese navy has conducted combat drills in the South China
Sea in a show of strength ahead of the July 12 verdict of an
international tribunal on a dispute with the Philippines over the
strategic waters. The exercises were held in the waters adjacent to
south Chinas Hainan Island and Xisha Islands also known as Parcel
islands which are claimed by Vietnam in the South China Sea, (SCS).
The Nanhai Fleet, as well as some forces of the Beihai Fleet and
Donghai Fleet, took part in the navys annual routine military exercise
that covered all sorts of combat platforms, including the air arm,
submarine, surface vessel and coastal defence force, state-run Xinhua
news agency reported today.
Vietnam has protested to China over the drills.
1. The exercises focusing on air control operations, sea battles and
anti-submarine warfare are expected to last till tomorrow, a day
ahead of the verdict by the tribunal, constituted by the Permanent
Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, would rule on
Philippines petition challenging the claims of China over the SCS
on July 12.
2. Chinas claims on all most of the SCS were contested by
the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which
have counter claims.
3. China has boycotted the tribunal and asserted that it will not
implement the verdict of the tribunal.
4. Meanwhile, state media reported that China plans to deploy more
unmanned Chinese ships in the domestic and international waters
including the SCS and the Antarctic for oceanic survey and patrol
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5. Founded in 2010, the Research Institute of Unmanned Surface

Vehicles (USV) Engineering at Shanghai University, which is also
Chinas first USV development institute, has been providing a
series of independently designed unmanned ships coded Jinghai,
Xinhua reported.
6. Additional unmanned ships could shoulder more responsibilities
in the near future, including surveying and mapping coastal
areas, maritime search and rescue, offshore patrol, anti-smuggling
and sea route protection.
7. Experts also noted that the ships could participate in more
missions near ports and oil drilling rigs, Xinhua report sadi.
8. Apart from Shanghai University, several other universities and
institutes under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and the
Chinese Academy of Sciences have also joined the USV research
and development process, the report said.


North Korea appeared to have test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic
missile (SLBM), Seouls defence ministry said, a day after the US and
South Korea decided to deploy an advanced missile defence system in
the South. The North launched what was believed to be an SLBM from
waters off the (northeastern) port of Sinpo , the South Korean defence
ministry said in a press statement.
1. North Korea previously fired an SLBM on April 23 in a test hailed
as an eye-opening success by leader Kim Jong-Un, who at the
time declared his country had the ability to strike Seoul and the
US whenever it pleased.
2. Today (9 July 2016) launch came after Seoul and Washington
announced their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude
Area Defence system, or THAAD, to the Korean peninsula and the
North warned US sanctions against its leader amounted to a
declaration of war.
3. Tensions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its fourth
nuclear test in January, followed by a series of missile launches
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that analysts said show the North is making progress toward

being able to strike the US mainland.
4. The plan to deploy the powerful THAAD system in South
Korea has angered Beijing and Moscow, which both see it as a US
bid to flex military muscle in the region.
5. Pyongyang lashed out at Washington on on 8 July 2016, warning
North Korea would instantly cut off all diplomatic channels with
the US if the sanctions were not lifted.
6. The Norths foreign ministry called the sanctions against Kim the
worst hostility and an open declaration of war , vowing to take
the toughest countermeasures to resolutely shatter the hostility
of the US.


On the occasion of the World Population Day on July 11, the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recommended more
investments on Indian teenage girls.
While acknowledging the improvement in several key development
indicators, the UN agency sees impediments that are limiting
adolescent girls from achieving their full potential.
1. Adolescents form 21% of Indias population, of which adolescent
girls constitute 48% (115 million).
2. Despite improvements on several key development indicators,
there are still issues which limit adolescents, especially adolescent
girls, from achieving their full potential, says UNFPA on the
Indian situation in the context of World Population Day theme,
Investing in Teenage Girls.
3. Around 14% of girls aged 15-19 years are illiterate, and 73% never
get too complete more than 10 years of school.
4. A third of the worlds child brides are in India, with about half of
them having married before they turned 18, says the agency.

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An angry China rejected as null and void the verdict of a UN-backed
international tribunal which struck down its claims over the South
China Sea saying Beijing has no historic rights in the disputed area.
China neither accepts nor recognises the ruling of a tribunal in the
South China Sea arbitration established at the request of the
Philippines, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
1. The award is null and void and has no binding force, it said in a
statement minutes after the five judge tribunal appointed by the
Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered its judgement striking
down Beijings claims of historic rights over the area,
strongly disputed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei
and Taiwan.
2. Chinas territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests
in the South China Sea (SCS) shall under no circumstances be
affected by those awards. China opposes and will never accept any
claim or action based on those awards.
3. China has territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and
interests in the South China Sea, said a separate statement titled
Statement of the Government of the Peoples Republic of China on
Chinas Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests
in the South China Sea.
4. China is always firmly opposed to the invasion and illegal
occupation by certain states of some islands and reefs of Chinas
Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands) (called by Philippines as
Spratleys), and activities infringing upon Chinas rights and
interests in relevant maritime areas under Chinas jurisdiction, it
5. Chinas strong reaction came after the tribunal struck a blow to its
claims over almost all of the SCS, saying that its much touted
nine-dash line has has no legal basis.
6. Striking down the core of Chinas claims over the 90 per cent SCS
based on historic rights, the tribunal ruled there was no legal
basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the
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SCS falling within its claimed nine-dash line, which is based on a

Chinese map dating back to 1940s.
It concluded that to the extent China had historic rights to resources in
the waters of the SCS, such rights were extinguished to the extent they
were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided for in the
Convention (UN Convention on the Law of Seas. The tribunal also
noted that, although Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as
those of other States, had historically made use of the islands in the
SCS, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised
exclusive control over the waters or their resources.
For decades China, which boycotted the tribunal questioning its
legality, has been asserting that its emperors have discovered the
islands hundreds of years ago and have been exercising control over the
area throughout the history. But its claims came into conflict with the
Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan as they hardly
have exclusive economic zones (EEZ) provided by UNCLOS which
Beijing declined to recognise.
China has renamed the islands which were known in the area with
different names like Spratly islands. The statement claimed that the
activities of the Chinese people in the SCS date back to over 2,000 years
ago. China is the first to have discovered, named, and explored and
exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have
exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them continuously,
peacefully and effectively, thus establishing territorial sovereignty and
relevant rights and interests in the SCS, it said.
Following the end of the World War II, China recovered and resumed
the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao which had been illegally
occupied by Japan during its war of aggression against China, it
said. This map was officially published and made known to the world by
the Chinese government in February 1948, it said in apparent
reference to the nine-dash line. China is so vocal in enforcing the ninedash line that it publishes it in all the passports of Chinese to assert its
claims. The statement said China has been firm in upholding its
territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the SCS
and cited various documents released to assert its claims over EEZ and
the continental shelf. The ratification of UNCLOS have further

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reaffirmed Chinas territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and

interests in SCS.


NASAs Juno spacecraft has sent the first-ever image of the gas giant
Jupiter and three of its four moons to the Earth as it continues orbiting
the planet.
The image was taken on July 10, when the spacecraft was 4.3 million
km from Jupiter on the outbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture
orbit. The colour image shows atmospheric features on Jupiter,
including the famous Great Red Spot, and three of the massive planets
four largest moons Io, Europa and Ganymede (from left to right in the
1. This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass
through Jupiters extreme radiation environment without any
degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter, said Scott Bolton,
principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in
San Antonio.
2. The JunoCam camera is operational and sending down data after
the spacecrafts arrival at Jupiter on July 4.
3. Junos visible-light camera was turned on six days after it fired its
main engine and placed itself into orbit around the largest
planetary inhabitant of our solar system.
4. However, the first high-resolution images of the gas giant are still
a few weeks away.
5. The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken
on August 27 when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter.
6. During its mission, Juno will circle the Jovian world 37 times,
soaring low over the planets cloud tops as close as about 4,100
7. During these fly-bys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud
cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the
planets origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
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The UNs cultural agency on 14 July 2016 added Libyas five World
Heritage sites to its danger list, saying armed militias posed a grave
danger to the archaeological treasures. The sites named by UNESCO
include the Old City of Ghadames, often referred to as the pearl of the
desert and the archaeological site of Cyrene, one of the principal cities
in the Hellenic world.
1. The rock-art sites of Tadrart Acacus on the border with
Algeria that feature thousands of cave paintings dating back as
far back as 12,000 BC to 100 AD are also listed.
2. The other two are the coastal archaeological sites of Leptis Magna
and Sabratha, a Mediterranean trading post that was once part of
the brief Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before it was taken
over the by Romans.
1. The committee noted the high level of instability affecting the
country and the fact that armed groups are present on these sites
or in their immediate surroundings, UNESCO said at the 40th
meeting of its World Heritage Committee in Istanbul.
2. It invoked the damage already incurred and the serious threat of
further damage to explain the decision.
3. Since the 2011 NATO-led military intervention, Libya has been in
the grip of a conflict which has killed thousands as rival militias
fight for territory and control of the country.
4. The three archaeological sites of Cyrene, Leptis Magna and
Sabratha were added to UNESCOs World Heritage List of the
worlds outstanding natural and cultural wonders in 1982,
following Ghadames in 1986 and Tadrart Acacus in 1985.
5. UNESCO says its list of heritage in danger is designed to inform
the world of risks to the very characteristics that led to a site
being listed as World Heritage and encouraging corrective action.
6. The agency says it also allows the committee to allocate
immediate support from the World Heritage Fund to at-risk sites.
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Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has dislodged Warren Buffett
as the third-richest person globally with an estimated worth of USD
65.3 billion at Thursdays market close, says Forbes real-time wealth
tracker. Mr. Buffetts worth has been pegged at USD 64.9 billion.
1. Bezos has seen his fortune swell on Amazons success and the 52year-old has surpassed Warren Buffett as the third-richest person
on the planet, Forbes said.
2. Amazon has reported robust second-quarter earnings, with the
company posting a profit of USD 857 million, significantly up from
USD 92 million a year ago.
3. Revenue also jumped 31 per cent to USD 30.4 billion, topping
analyst estimates of USD 29.5 billion, Forbes said.
4. Expectedly, the stock has climbed, notching up 11 per cent gains
this year and 41 per cent over the last 12 months.
5. Bill Gates remains the richest in the world with a net worth of
USD 75 billion. Zaras Amancio Ortega is the second-richest in the
world with a net worth of USD 67 billion.
6. Making clear its intention, Amazon recently announced plans to
invest an additional USD 3 billion in its India operations.


The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially termed the Games of the 31st
Olympiad, and commonly called Rio 2016, is the worlds largest multisport event that is scheduled to to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
from August 5 to 21. As the mega event is about to kickstart in a week,
let us have a look at the some of the interesting statistics.
Top 5 athletes of Olympics:
This top five is based on the highest number of gold medals won by each
individual in London Olympics 2012.

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1. Michael Phelps: This evergreen swimmer still is in the No.1 spot

with 22 medals to his name (18 golds, 2 silver and 2 bronze).
Phelps is the world record holder in the 100-meter butterfly, 200meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley as well as the
former world record holder in the 200-meter freestyle and 200meter individual medley. He has won a total of 77 medals in major
international competitions, totalling 61 gold, 13 silver, and 3
bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific
2. Larisa Latynina: This Soviet Union gymnast is the second best
with 18 medals (9 golds, 5 silver and 4 bronze). Between 1956 and
1964 she won 14 individual Olympic medals and four team
medals. Her total of 18 Olympic medals was a record for 48 years
until surpassed by Michael Phelps on July 31, 2012. Although
Phelps broke her total medal count record, her record for
individual event medals (14) still stands. She is credited with
helping to establish the Soviet Union as a dominant force in
3. Paavo Nurmi: This Finland athlete is third in the list with 12
medals (9 golds and 3 silver). He was nicknamed the Flying Finn
as he dominated distance running. Nurmi set 22 official world
records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres. At
his peak, Nurmi was undefeated at distances from 800 m upwards
for 121 races. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained
unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.
4. Mark Spitz: This swimmer from the US is fourth with 11 medals
(9 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze). This nine-time Olympic champion
is a former world record-holder in seven events. He won seven
gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, an achievement
surpassed by Michael Phelps, who won eight golds at the 2008
Beijing Olympics. Spitz set new world records in all seven events
in which he competed in 1972, an achievement that still stands.
5. Sawao Kato: This gymnast from Japan has 12 medals (8 golds, 3
silver and 1 bronze) to his name. Kato is one of the athletes to
have won eight or more Olympic gold medals. He is one of the
most successful male gymnasts ever at the Olympics. In 2001 Kato
was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

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August 2016
Raising its pitch over tensions on the disputed South China Sea, China
called for preparations for a peoples war at sea to counter offshore
security threats while its top court warned foreigners of criminal
liability for violations of its maritime rights. Chinese Defence Minister
General Chang Wanquan has warned of offshore security threats and
called for substantial preparation for a peoples war at sea to
safeguard sovereignty.

1. Chang said the military, police and people should prepare for
mobilisation to defend national sovereignty and territorial
2. His comments followed verdict of international tribunal on July
12 that struck down Chinas claims over the South China Sea and
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raised tensions between China and Japan over the disputed

islands in the East China Sea.
Two days ago while addressing a reception to celebrate 89th
founding ANNIVERSARYof the 2.3 million-strong Peoples
Liberation Army (PLA), China said it will staunchly protect the
countrys maritime rights and interests and is fully confident and
capable of addressing various security threats and provocations.
The PLA will unswervingly safeguard national sovereignty,
security and development interests including territorial integrity
and maritime rights and interests, Chang had said.
It will always stand ready to be called upon and be able to fight
and win, he said.
Meanwhile, Chinas Supreme Court today issued a regulation to
reaffirm its jurisdiction over the countrys territorial seas and
warned Chinese and foreigners of criminal liability for violations
like illegal fishing, Xinhua reported.
The explanation provides clear legal basis for China to safeguard
maritime order, marine safety and interests, and to exercise
integrated management over the countrys jurisdictional seas, it
quoted a statement by Supreme Peoples Court (SPC) as saying.
The regulation, taking effect, stated that Chinese citizens or
foreigners would be pursued criminal liability if they were
engaged in illegal hunting or fishing, or killing endangered
wildlife in Chinas jurisdictional seas.
Peoples courts will actively exercise jurisdiction over Chinas
territorial waters, support administrative departments to legally
perform maritime management duties, equally protect the legal
rights of Chinese and foreign parties involved and safeguard
Chinese territorial sovereignty and maritime interests, it said.

The judicial explanation, based on Chinese law, the UN Convention on

the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and judicial practices, further clarifies
Chinas maritime jurisdiction, the statement said. According to the
regulation by the SPC, jurisdictional seas not only include inland
waters and territorial seas, but also cover regions including contiguous
zones, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. The regulation
also addresses Chinese citizens or organisations engaged in fishing in

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fishing zones or the open sea under co-management between China and
other countries, according to signed agreements.
The interpretation specifies the standard of conviction and punishment
for illegal marine fishing those who illegally enter Chinese territorial
waters and refuse to leave after being driven away, or who re-enter
after being driven away or being fined in the past year, will be
considered to have committed serious criminal acts and will be fined
and sentenced to less than a year of imprisonment, detention or
surveillance, it said. The penalty also applies to those who illegally
enter Chinas territorial seas to fish but do not engage in illegal
fishing under the law, it said. The explanation offers legal guarantees
for marine fishing law enforcement, defining punishments for fishing
without a license in order to encourage legal fishing, the statement said,
adding that it also promotes judicial assistance and international
cooperation on marine affairs.
The SPC move is seen as an attempt to provide legal cover to Chinas
maritime claims over all most all of the South China Sea (SCS) in the
backdrop of the judgement of the tribunal appointed by the Permanent
Court of Arbitration, (PCA) quashing Chinas nine-dash line claim over
the SCS. It also upheld the Philippines rights over the area claimed by
Manila. China has rejected the tribunal verdict delivered in response to
the Philippines petition, which the PCA said is binding.
While Beijing said the tribunals verdict was null and void as it is
illegally constituted, todays regulation by the top Court was expected to
provide a legal cover for Chinese military and coast guard to effectively
implement Chinas claims over nearly 90 per cent of the SCS and back
the rights of its fishermen to continue fishing in the areas. Besides the
Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan contests Chinas
claims over the area with counter claims. The Court regulation followed
assertions by the Chinese military to protect the countrys maritime
rights and interests in the backdrop of increasing tensions over the SCS
after an international tribunal struck down Beijings claims.


In an unusual move, the UN has backtracked from its statement that it
will continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir through its military
observer group in India and Pakistan, clarifying that the mission does
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not have a mandate beyond the LoC. The clarification was issued by UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moons spokesman Stephane Dujarric on 2
August 2016, a day after the UN chiefs deputy spokesperson Farhan
Haq told reporters that the UN will continue to monitor the situation in
Kashmir, including through our monitoring group UN Military
Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

1. The clarification seems to imply that the situation and incidents
in Kashmir are Indias internal matter and do not come under the
control of UNMOGIP that only observes and reports on ceasefire
violations along the Line of Control and does not monitor the
situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
2. Dujarric was also asked why the Secretary General does not
initiate efforts to settle the Kashmir conflict, even as the world
body is trying to resolve conflicts in Cyprus and the Middle East.
3. Protests broke out across Kashmir Valley on July 9, a day after
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an

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encounter with Indian security forces, leading to clashes in which

50 people have been killed and over 5,600 injured.
4. According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307
of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations
along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary
between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu
and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to
ceasefire violations.
5. India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and
is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent
establishment of the Line of Control (LoC). India has always
stated that it has no role to play whatsoever.
6. As of March 31 this year, UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25
international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.


1. Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju will leave on 8
August 2016 to attend the International Meeting on Counter
2. Terrorism to be held at Bali, Indonesia on 10 August 2016. The
theme of this multilateral meeting on counter-terrorism will be
countering cross-border movement of terrorism which is one of the
biggest challenges faced today by countries regarding
perpetrators, weapons, ideology and financing.
3. This is first of its kind meeting being hosted by Indonesia, which
aims at strengthening the international cooperation network in
addressing the growing threat of cross-border movement of
terrorism from the aspects of actor, information and also
financing. Rijiju will also be meeting Indonesia Minister for
Political, Security and Legal Affairs Wiranto to discuss various
issues of bilateral importance.

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Britains departure from the European Union (EU) could be delayed
until late 2019 as civil servants struggle with the task and French and
German elections may hold up the start of exit negotiations, a report
said on 14 August 2016. Prime Minister Theresa Mays government has
indicated that it is planning to trigger Article 50 of the EUs Lisbon
Treaty, which would start a two-year countdown to leaving the bloc,
early in 2017. Times newspaper said ministers had privately warned
senior figures in the City of London financial sector that this may not
now happen until later in the year, delaying Brexit until late 2019.

1. Ministers are now thinking the trigger could be delayed too
autumn 2017, said one City source who had spoken to two senior
ministers on the issue.
2. They dont have the infrastructure for the people they need to
hire. They say they dont even know the right questions to ask
when they finally begin bargaining with Europe.
3. An unnamed cabinet minister told the paper there were some
challenges in the German and French electoral timetables.
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4. France has presidential elections in April and May next year, and
Germany has elections in the autumn.
5. May created a new ministry to oversee Brexit talks following the
23 June referendum vote to leave the EU, but the minister in
charge, David Davis, has reportedly only hired about half of the
staff that he needs.
6. Another new department, the ministry for international trade
under Liam Fox, also has an uphill task to recruit experts after
decades of leaving the job to Brussels left Britain with only a
handful of experienced negotiators.


With a robust growth from the rural Internet market, the country will
have 730 million Internet users by 2020, according to a report. India
will have 730 million Internet users by 2020, Nasscom report, titled
The Future of Internet in India, stated on 17 August 2016, adding
that 75 per cent of new Internet user growth will be from rural areas.
The report was prepared by National Association of Software and
Services Companies (Nasscom) in partnership with Akamai
As per report
1. By 2020, the Internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the
hinterlands of the country, helping to create more opportunities
for everyone.
2. Indias Internet consumption has already exceeded USA to become
No. 2 globally.
3. The rapid growth of the Internet and its expansion into verticals
including e-commerce, travel and hospitality, public sector,
financial technology and media is a clear indication of the state of
things to come.
4. The fashion and lifestyle segment will emerge as the largest etailing category with a 35 per cent contribution to e-commerce by
2020, overtaking the consumer electronics segment which
dominates the sales of Indian e-commerce industry at present.

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5. 75 per cent of new Internet users will consume data in local



South Korea and the United States began annual military drills on 22
August 2016 despite North Koreas threat of nuclear strikes in response
to the exercises that it calls an invasion rehearsal. Such fiery rhetoric
by Pyongyang is not unusual. But the latest warning comes at a time of
more tension following the defection of a senior North Korean diplomat
and a U.S. plan to place a high-tech missile defence system in South
Korea. The Norths military said in a statement that it will turn Seoul
and Washington into a heap of ashes through a Korean-style preemptive nuclear strike if they show any signs of aggression toward the
Norths territory.

1. The Norths first-strike units are ready to mount retaliatory
attacks on South Korean and U.S. forces involved in the drills,
according to the statement, carried by Pyongyangs state media.
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2. South Koreas Unification Ministry expressed strong regret over

the Norths warning, saying the drills with the U.S. are defensive
in nature. Seoul and Washington have repeatedly said they have
no intentions of invading Pyongyang.
3. The 12day Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills that began are
largely computer-simulated war games. The training involves
25,000 American troops and 50,000 South Korean soldiers,
according to the U.S. and South Korean militaries.
4. The drills come just days after Seoul announced that Thae Yong
Ho, No. 2 at the Norths embassy in London, had recently defected
to South Korea because he was disillusioned with the Norths
leadership. Pyongyangs state media called him human scum
and a criminal who had been ordered home for a series of alleged
criminal acts, including sexually assaulting a minor.
5. South Koreas President Park Geun-hye said that there were signs
of serious cracks in the Norths ruling elite class after defections
of key figures she didnt identity. Ms. Park told a security meeting
that Pyongyang could carry out cyber-attacks or other
provocations on South Korea to divert public attention away from
such domestic problems.
6. North Korea has already boosted its war rhetoric because of the
planned deployment of the U.S. Terminal HighAltitude Area
Defence system in South Korea, which Washington and Seoul says
is needed because of the increasing North Korean threats.


India has figured among the top 10 wealthiest countries in the
world with a total individual wealth of $ 5,600 billion while the United
States topped the chart. According to a report by New World Wealth,
India was ranked 7th ahead of Canada ($ 4,700 billion), Australia ($
4,500 billion) and Italy ($ 4,400 billion), which came in at 8th, 9th and
10th slots, respectively.

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As per report
1. The U.S is the wealthiest in the world in terms of total individual
wealth held ($ 48,900 billion) while China stood second and Japan
third, with total individual wealth of $ 17,400 billion and USD
15,100 billion, respectively.
2. Others in the top 10 club include the United Kingdom (4) with a
total individual wealth of $ 9,200 billion, followed by Germany
(5th, $ 9,100 billion) and France (6th, $ 6,600 billion).
3. Wealth refers to net assets of a person. It includes all their assets
(property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities,
the report said adding that it excludes government funds from its
4. The ranking of India as one of the top 10 wealthiest countries in
the world is largely because of its large population. Australias
ranking is impressive, considering it only has 22 million people
living there, the report explained.
5. Over the past 5 years, China was the fastest growing wealthiest
country in terms of dollar wealth growth.
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6. On India, the report stated, Australia and India also grew

strongly and India, Australia and Canada have just overtaken
Italy over the past 12 months.
7. The study ranked the wealthiest countries in the world as of June
2016 in terms of total individual wealth held.


Myanmars government has set up an advisory panel headed by former
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annanto find lasting solutions to the
conflict in Rakhine state, where human rights groups have documented
widespread abuses against the minority Rohingya Muslims. A
statement by the office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said an
agreement will be signed between her office and the Kofi Annan
Foundation to set up a nine-member advisory commission to resolve
protracted issues in the region.

The council will comprise three international and six national

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Rohingya Muslims have lived in the north-western state of

Rakhine for generations but are denied citizenship because
they are considered outsiders. More than 100 people, mostly
Rohingya, were killed in clashes with members of Myanmars
Buddhist majority in 2012. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have
fled in rickety boats to seek refuge in other Southeast Asian
countries, and many have perished in the perilous journeys or
fallen victim to human traffickers.
Many displaced Rohingya are now sheltering in refugee camps
within the country in squalid conditions with little medical
In a reflection of how sensitive the Rohingya issue is, the
statement did not name the community in the entire text, only
describing it as the complex and delicate issues in the Rakhine
The closest it came to acknowledging the Rohingya was by
saying that the commission will examine international aspects
of the situation, including the background of those seeking
refugee status abroad.
The commission will consider humanitarian and development
issues, access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights,
and the security of the people of Rakhine.
The Commission will make recommendations on conflict
prevention,humanitarian assistance, rights and reconciliation,
institution building and promotion of development of Rakhine
The Commission will submit its findings and recommendations
within 12 months of its establishment. The recommendations
will be given to Suu Kyi, who holds the dual titles of state
counsellor and foreign minister.
She is barred by the Constitution from becoming president, but
for all intent and purposes has been the countrys leader since
her party won elections in November 2015 and replaced a
quasi-civilian government controlled by the military.
Kofi Annan was the U.N. chief from 1997 to 2006, when he was
replaced by Ban Ki-moon. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize
with the United Nations in 2001.
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While Bangladesh is among the top five countries at risk of
disaster, India ranks 77 on the World Risk Index marginally better
positioned than Pakistan which is placed at 72. The index is part of the
World Risk Report 2016 released by the United Nations University
Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNUEHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft in cooperation with the
University of Stuttgart in Germany.

1. The index assessed the risk of disaster in 171 countries through
the combined analysis of natural hazards and societal
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2. Ranking No.1, the island state of Vanuatu displayed the greatest

risk in 2016.
3. The researchers concluded in the report that lack of critical
infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the
risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster.
Sufficient, high-quality infrastructure, which is well-managed
institutionally, can not only prevent the often catastrophic
consequences of natural hazards such as flooding or storms, but it can
also play a crucial role in the distribution of humanitarian aid supplies
in the event of a disaster. Critical infrastructure can thus reduce the
risk of natural hazards for populations and absorb economic losses.


President Barack Obama burnished his environmental legacy
by establishing the worlds largest marine reserve, home to thousands
of rare sea creatures in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Obamas
announcement more than quadrupled the size of the existing protected
area, known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument,
which is now 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers)
about four times the size of California.

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1. The waters are home to pristine coral reefs and hundreds of
animals found nowhere else on Earth, including a new species of
ghost octopus discovered only this year and the worlds oldest
living organism, black coral, which is estimated to be 4,265 years
2. Some 14 million seabirds soar over the area and make their nests
on the islands, including a 65-year-old albatross named Wisdom.
The area is home as well to threatened green turtles and
endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
3. The marine monument was established in 2006 by then president
George W. Bushand was designated a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in 2010. By expanding the monument, President Obama has
increased protections for one of the most biologically and
culturally significant places on the planet.
4. Greenpeace also hailed what it called a bold decision that will
ban commercial fishing and mineral extraction in the region.


The first cargo train from China is set to reach Afghanistan on
September 9, signalling Beijings effort to consolidate ties with Kabul,
as part of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative along the ancient
Silk Road. The train left Chinas eastern city of Nantong on August 25,
to cover a 15-day journey to Hairatan, onAfghanistans border with
Uzbekistan. On the way, it is crossing the Alataw pass on the ChinaKazakhstan border before heading into Uzbekistan towards Termez.
From Termez, once the springboard of Soviet Unions intervention in
Afghanistan, branch lines also head towards Dushanbe, the capital of
Tajikistan towards the east, and westwards to Uzbekistans cultural
iconsSamarkand and Bukhara.

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The train would enter Afghanistan after the crossing the
Friendship Bridge, that was built by the Soviets, on the Amu
Darya, marking the boundary between Uzbekistan and
Afghanistan. Subsequently, the railway has been extended by 75
km from Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif, the third largest city of
Afghanistan, and capital of its Balkh province.
The cross-border route over the Friendship Bridge has also been
used as an important military supply channel for the
international forces in Afghanistan as part of the Northern
Distribution Network.
Analysts say the departure of the train signals Chinas intent to
consolidate ties with Afghanistan, as it grapples to establish to
secure transportation links along the New Silk Road, linking Asia
with Europe.
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The decision to run a cargo train follows concerted effort by China

to play a leading role in imparting political stability to
Afghanistan, in tune with the scaling down of NATO forces from
the country.
Observers point out that Beijing has decided to do so for three
major reasons: securing the OBOR, safeguarding the China
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and plugging support for
separatists operating in the Xinjiang province.
China is ultimately keen to see a political settlement [in
Afghanistan], though we know that this is very hard to achieve
because different countries pursue different interests.
Besides, the Afghan Taliban still believe that they can win the
battle through military means. Anyway, what China can do at this
stage is to understand the ground realities.
Earlier this month, China and Afghanistan held their first
strategic military dialogue led by Gen. Fang Fenghui, member of
Chinas Central Military Commission (CMC), and Gen. Qadam
Shah Shahim, chief of general staff of the Afghan National Army.
During talks, Gen. Fang underscored that international terrorist
activities had entered a new active phase, threatening regional
security and stability.
The quadrilateral mechanism at the military level on
counterterrorism among China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and
Pakistan was established on August 3. Dr. Hu told The Hindu
that China had already started training Afghan forces as well as
supplying them with weapons, as part of growing military ties
between the two countries.

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September 2016
Alarmed by the growing Indo-US defence ties, Pakistan's cabinet has
given the go-ahead for negotiating a long-term defence agreement and
security cooperation with its all-weather ally China. Pakistan's cabinet
in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on July 15 at the
Governor House in Lahore gave the go-ahead for negotiating a longterm defence agreement with China, The Express Tribune reported.

1. The cabinet considered the summary to initiate negotiations on a
draft agreement between Pakistan and China on a long-term
strategic framework agreement for enhancing defence and security
cooperation in diversified fields.
2. The cabinet held detailed discussions on the proposed agreement
before giving the nod of approval, the report said.
3. The cabinet was informed that the draft agreement was based on
principles of mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity,
sovereignty, non-integration and non-interference in each other's
internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefits, and
peaceful coexistence for strategic gains in defence and security,
including arms and technology transfers.
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4. It was also informed that input from ministries of foreign affairs,

interior and defence production as well as the Joint Staff
Headquarters had been obtained and incorporated in the draft
agreement which was subsequently vetted by the law and justice
5. In April 2015, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan,
the two countries agreed that their relationship had acquired greater
strategic significance against the backdrop of complex and changing
international and regional situations.
6. They agreed to elevate the Pakistan-China relationship to the allweather strategic cooperative partnership.
7. The reports of defence agreement surfaced a week after the US
signed a key logistics agreement with India governing the use of each
other's land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply.
8. Pakistan had called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of
Agreement between the US and India as an agreement between the
two sovereign states and hoped it would contribute to peace and
9. The US was probably upset with the multibillion-dollar ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.


In a historical and proud moment for India, Pope Francis on 4
September declared Mother Teresa 'Saint Teresa of Calcutta' in a
ceremony at the Vatican as celebrations broke out across India
especially in her adopted city of Kolkata. Thousands of people including
a sizeable number of Indians flooded the St. Peters Square in the holy
Vatican City of Rome since morning to witness the canonisation
ceremony of Mother Teresa.
1. A 12-member central government delegation led by Minister of
External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and two state level delegations led
by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee were in attendance.
2. There were celebrations and special prayers on the occasion in
different parts of the country including Goa, Mumbai and Delhi but
the revelry was grand and elaborate in Kolkata.
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3. From setting up giant screens that beamed her canonisation live to

projection of songs and films depicting her journey, Kolkata matched
the Vatican on the big day.
4. A series of events including a "Thanksgiving Holy Eucharist" were
lined up to celebrate the occasion while the city observed with solemn
prayers that were conducted by the Archdioceses of Calcutta and the
Missionaries of Charity.
5. The Albanian nun had made Kolkata her home and in 1950 set up
the Catholic order Missionaries of Charity, hailed across the globe for
its service to the poorest of the poor and the infirm.
6. Mother Teresa took care of the hungry, naked, homeless, crippled,
blind, lepers and all those who were shunned by the society.
7. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 but the branches of
Missionaries of Charity in several countries continue their service to
humanity, reaching out to the needy, regardless of their religion or
social status.


Sri Lanka has been certified as malaria-free island country by World
Health Organisation (WHO) on 5 September. In the mid-20th century it
was among the most malaria-affected countries, but now it is malariafree. This is testament to the courage and vision of its leaders, and
signifies the great leaps that can be made when targeted action is
taken. It also demonstrates the importance of grass-roots community
engagement and a whole-of-society approach when it comes to making
dramatic public health gains.

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1. Sri Lanka's road to eliminating the mosquitoes was tough, and
demanded well-calibrated, responsive policies.
2. After malaria cases soared in the 1970s and 80s, the country's antimalaria campaign in the 1990s adjusted its strategy to intensively
target the parasite in addition to targeting the mosquito.
3. The change in strategy was unorthodox, but highly effective.
4. Mobile malaria clinics in high transmission areas meant that prompt
and effective treatment could reduce the parasite reservoir and the
possibility of further transmission. Effective surveillance, community
engagement and health education, meanwhile, enhanced the ability
of authorities to respond, and mobilized popular support for the
5. The adaptation and flexibility of strategies and support from key
partners such as WHO and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria fast-tracked success.
6. By 2006, the country recorded less than 1 000 cases of malaria per
year, and since October 2012, the indigenous cases were down to
zero. For the past three-and-a-half years, no locally transmitted
cases have been recorded.
7. Sri Lanka is the second country in the WHO South-East Asia Region
to eliminate malaria after Maldives. The announcement of Sri
Lanka's victory over malaria was made at the WHO South-East Asia
Region's annual Regional Committee meeting in the presence of
health ministers and senior health officials from all 11 Member
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North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast on 5
September 2016 in a defiant reminder of the risks to global security, as
world leaders including US President Barack Obama gathered at a G20
summit in China for the second day. North Korea has tested missiles at
sensitive times in the past to draw attention to its military might. But
launch risks embarrassing its main ally Beijing, which has gone to
extraordinary lengths to ensure a smooth summit meeting in the
eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

1. The missile test was also an unwanted distraction for the United
States, which has been trying on the sidelines of the summit to
finalise a deal with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria.
2. The medium-range missiles flew for about 600 miles (1,000 km) and
landed inside Japan's air defence identification zone.
3. The test prompted a quick meeting between South Korean President
Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in
Hangzhou, and they agreed to cooperate on monitoring the situation,
a Japanese statement said.
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4. The leaders of South Korea and China met on the sidelines of the
G20 summit and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed Beijing's
commitment to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
5. In 2003, North Korea tested an anti-ship missile during an AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Bangkok.
What is G20
1. The G20 summit, bringing together leaders of the world's major
economies, had largely focused in its main sessions on spurring the
global economy, countering protectionism and removing trade
2. With the summit taking place after Britain's vote in June to exit the
European Union and before the US presidential election in
November, observers expect G20 leaders to mount a defence of free
trade and globalisation and warn against isolationism.
3. G20 countries are set to agree in a communique at the end of the
summit that all policy measures - including monetary, fiscal and
structural reforms - should be used to achieve solid and sustainable
economic growth.


An agreement on the expansion of IndiaChile Preferential Trade
Agreement (PTA) was signed between India and Chile in a meeting held
between Ms. Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary and Mr. Andrs Barb
Gonzlez, Ambassador, Embassy of Chile on 6th September, 2016. A
Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile was
earlier signed on March 8, 2006 and came into force with effect from
August, 2007. In the original PTA concluded in March 2006, Indias
offer list to Chile consisted of 178 tariff lines the Margin of Preference
(MoP) ranging from 10%-50% at 8-digit level and Chiles offer list to
India consisted of 296 tariff lines with MoP ranging from 10% - 100% at
8-digit level.

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1. Under the expanded PTA, Chile has offered concessions to India on

1798 tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) ranging from
30%-100% and India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 tariff
lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10%-100%.
2. Indias export basket with Chile is diversified and keeping in view
the wide variety of tariff lines offered by Chile, the expanded PTA
would immensely benefit India.
3. Among the LAC countries, Chile was the third largest trading
partner of India during 2015-16. Indias bilateral trade with Chile
stood at US$ 2.64 billion with exports at US$ 0.68 billion and
imports at US$ 1.96 billion respectively during 2015-16(P).
4. Indias exports to Chile are diverse which consist of transport
equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, yarn of polyester fibres,
tyres and tubes, manufacture of metals, articles of apparel,
organic/inorganic and agro chemicals, textiles, readymade
garments, plastic goods, leather products, engineering goods,
imitation jewellery, sports goods and handicrafts.
5. Major items of Import from Chile are copper ore and concentrates,
iodine, copper anodes, copper cathodes, molybdenum ores &
concentrates, lithium carbonates & oxide, metal scrap, inorganic
chemicals, pulp & waste paper, fruits & nuts excluding cashews,
fertilizers and machinery.
6. India has friendly relations with Chile. Chile has been cooperating
with India at the International fora and expansion of India Chile
PTA will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two
countries. The expansion would be an important landmark in IndiaChile relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations
that have existed between India and LAC countries.


Online travel agency has produced a ranking detailing
countries of the world which offer the least and most expensive flights.
The research, which took into account over 1 million international and
domestic journeys, found that India offered the least expensive flight
prices per 100km of travel, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
clocked in with the most expensive tickets.
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1. India is ranked number 1, making it the best value location for
international and domestic flights worldwide.
2. India offered the least expensive domestic flights on both low-cost
and legacy airlines, at $2.27 and $2.67, respectively, per 100 km of
3. India is calculated to have an average flight cost of $3.25 per 100 km
of travel, factoring in both domestic and international journeys.
4. China offered the least expensive international flights on both lowcost and legacy airlines, at $1.22 and $2.84, respectively, per 100 km
of travel.
5. The UAE offered the most expensive domestic flights on both lowcost and legacy airlines, at $181.38 and $202.36, respectively, per
100 km of travel.
6. Canada offered the most expensive international flights on both lowcost and legacy airlines, at $43.70 and $94.66, respectively, per 100
km of travel.
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How calculate the rankings

1. analysed over a million flights to find an average price of
domestic and international flights on a low-cost and a legacy airline
from each of the countries.
2. Domestic flights were calculated by finding an average of flight costs
from the countrys capital to up to five major cities within the
country (where available), or a major city in a neighbouring country
where no domestic flights were available, while international costs
were calculated from the capital of each country to up to five
international hubs within the same continent.
3. All flights were checked for the same dates of travel (or neighbouring
dates where necessary) on- and off-season, taking into account the
same destinations and travel scheduling.
4. The Aviation Price Index is a fascinating guide to the costs of air
travel around the globe
5. The study revealed the 10 countries offering the least expensive and
most expensive flights.


Chinas high-speed railway which is making a big pitch to compete in
India and global markets has completed over
20,000 kms of track network in the country, becoming worlds longest
bullet train network.
1. A high-speed railway linking Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan
Provincewith Xuzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province opened on 10
September 2016.
2. With the operation of the new line, Chinas high-speed railway lines
have exceeded 20,000 km in total length, the worlds longest.
3. The 360-km line connects high-speed railway in the west with two
major north-south lines, helping cut travel time between the west
and east.

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4. The travel time between Xian and Shanghai is cut to six hours from
nearly 11 hours.
5. The line has nine stations and trains run at a speed of up to 300 kph
in the initial period.
6. Construction of the line started in December 2012 and test operation
started in April 2016.
7. China is competing with Japan to market the bullet train network in
India and various other countries.
8. While Japan bagged the contract to build Mumbai-Ahmedabad high
speed train, China is conducting feasibility study to build the bullet
train track between Chennai and New Delhi.


The United States and Russia on 10 September 2016 announced
abreakthrough agreement on Syria that foresees a
nationwide ceasefire starting on 12 September 2016, followed a week
later byan unexpected new military partnership targeting the Islamic
State and the al-Qaeda as well as the establishment of new limits on
President Bashar Assads forces.
1. After a daylong final negotiating session in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry said that the plan could reduce violence in
Syria and lead to a long sought political transition, ending more than
five years of bloodshed. He called the deal a potential turning point
in a conflict that has killed as many as 500,000 people, if complied
with by Syrias Russian-backed government and U.S.-supported rebel
2. The ceasefire begins at sundown September 12, coinciding with the
Eid-ul-Adha holiday.
3. Mr. Kerrys negotiating partner, Russias Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov, confirming the agreement, said it could help expand the
counter terrorism fight and aid deliveries to Syrian civilians under
U.N. auspices that have been stalled for weeks.
4. The deal culminates months of frenetic diplomacy that included four
meetings between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov since August 26, and a
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lengthy face-to-face in China between Presidents Barack Obama and

Vladimir Putin.
The arrangement hinges on Moscow pressuring Assads government
to halt all offensive operations against the armed opposition in
specific areas, which were not detailed.
The military deal would go into effect after both sides abide by the
truce for a week and allow unimpeded humanitarian deliveries.
Then, the U.S. and Russia would begin intelligence sharing and
targeting coordination, while Assads air and ground forces would no
longer be permitted to target Nusra any longer; they would be
restricted to operations against the Islamic State.
The arrangement would ultimately aim to step up and concentrate
the firepower of two of the worlds most powerful militaries against
Islamic State and Nusra, listed by the United Nations as terrorist
After the Geneva announcement, Pentagon secretary Peter Cook
offered aguarded endorsement of the arrangement and cautioned.
The Geneva negotiating session, which lasted more than 13 hours,
underscored the complexity of a conflict that includes myriad
militant groups, shifting alliances and the rival interests of the U.S.
and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Turkey and the Kurds.


China and Russia will hold an eight- day joint naval exercise from 11
September 2016 in the contentious South China Sea, the first drill by
any country in the contested waters since an international tribunal
rejected Beijings historic claims to the resource-rich sea.
1. The naval drills, the first by Russia and China in the South China
Sea, will be held off southern Chinas Guangdong Province, and was
reportedly not close to Beijings nine-dash line which was struck
down by the arbitration court in The Hague in July in a case brought
by the Philippines over Beijings maritime claims.
2. The drills were routine and not directed at any other countries,
Chinese Navy said in a statement.
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3. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan along with the Philippines,

contest Chinas claims over the South China Sea.
4. Its historic claims, incorporated in the contested nine dash-line,
were struck down by the arbitration court which also upheld
Philippiness claims to the sections of the sea close to its coast.
5. Trade worth more than USD 5 trillion passes through the strategic
South China Sea annually.
6. The US and Japan have said that the tribunals verdict is legally
binding but Chinas claims got a fillip when Russian President
Vladimir Putin expressed his backing to Beijings stand this month
while attending the G20 summit in Hangzhou.
7. The drill, from September 12-19, is part of an annual event, which
aims to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive
strategic partnership.
8. The annual China-Russia joint naval exercise is the fifth of its kind
between the two countries since 2012.
9. The drills were held in 2012 in the Yellow Sea; off the coast of
Russias Far East in 2013; and in the East China Sea in 2014.
10. In 2015, the drill was conducted in two phases: in the
Mediterranean in Mayand then in the Peter the Great Gulf, the
waters off the Clerk Cape, and the Sea of Japan in late August.


Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first-ever joint military
exerciseslater this year, media reported on 12
September 2016, reflecting increased military cooperation between the
two former Cold War rivals. Around 200 military personnel from the
two sides would take part in the joint military exercises.
1. The move comes amidst increasing defence ties between Moscow and
Islamabad as the latter was also thinking to buy advanced Russian
2. This is the first time that military personnel from the two countries
would be taking part in joint military drills called Friendship-2016.
3. This obviously indicates a desire on both sides to broaden defence
andmilitary-technical cooperation.
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4. The joint military drill is seen as another step in growing military-tomilitary cooperation, indicating a steady growth in bilateral
relationship between the two countries.
5. Islamabad decided to broaden its foreign policy options after its
relations with the U.S. deteriorated after secret CIA raid in
Abbottabad killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
6. Pakistans relations with the U.S. were soured recently when U.S.
lawmakers blocked funds for the sale of eight Lockheed Martin
Corporations F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
7. Pakistan decided to look at alternative sources to purchase the
aircraft including from Jordan.
8. The flurry of high-level exchanges between the two nations resulted
in the signing of a deal for the sale of four MI-35 attack helicopters to
9. The formal agreement, which was signed in Moscow in August 2015,
was considered a major policy shift on part of Russia in the wake of
growing strategic partnership between the U.S. and India.
10. Islamabad is eager to improve its ties with Moscow to diversify its
options in the event of any stalemate in ties with Washington


India has draged the US to the WTO over Americas domestic content
requirements and subsidies provided by eight states in the renewable
energy sector. India has requested consultations with the US under the
dispute settlement system regarding alleged domestic content
requirements and subsidies provided by eight US states in the
renewable energy sector.
1. The eight states are Washington, California, Montana,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota.
2. India has stated that the measures are inconsistent with the global
trade norms because they provide less favourable treatment to
imported products than to like domestic products, and because the
subsidies are contingent on the use of domestic over imported goods.
3. The request for consultations is the first step in a dispute at the
WTO under its Dispute Settlement System.
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4. Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter

and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with
5. After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the
complainant may request adjudication by a panel.


India along with 21 others have been designated as major illicit drug
producing countries by US President Barack Obama. Other countries
are Afghanistan, the
Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Myanmar,Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican
Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica,
Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

1. In a notification, Obama further designated Bolivia, Myanmar and
Venezuela as countries that have failed demonstrably during the
previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under
international counter-narcotic agreements and take measures
against them.
2. However, Obama determined to continue aid to Myanmar and
Venezuela arguing that this is in the national interest of the US.
3. Obama said a countrys presence on the foregoing Major Drug
Transit and Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries list is not a
reflection of its governments counter-narcotic efforts or level of
cooperation with the US.
4. There is a growing international consensus that counter-narcotics
programs must be designed and implemented with the aim of

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improving the health and safety of individuals while preventing and

reducing violence and other harmful consequences to communities.
In concert with international partners, the US is expanding its
domestic and international funding for drug treatment and recovery
support programs based on empirical scientific evidence that shows
that substance use disorders are medical conditions and must be
treated as such.
To achieve greater balance, US drug policy also includes stepped-up
promotion of effective alternative development programs for farmers
and others who agree to stop illegal drug cultivation and associated
Heroin in the US is being increasingly adulterated with low-cost
synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl.
Research has shown that fentanyl and its analogues can be 25 to 50
times more potent than heroin.
According to US law enforcement, most illicit fentanyl, precursors,
and fentanyl analogues that have been identified in the US originate
in China and enter the country via Mexico, Canada, or direct mail.


GENEVA: Raising the issue of Balochistan for the first time before the
UN, India on 14 September 2016accused Pakistan of widespread
human rights violations there as well as in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
1. In a scathing attack on Pakistan during the 33rd Session of the
UN Human Rights Council, India said the main reason for
disturbances in Kashmir is the cross-border terrorism sponsored
by Pakistan that stems from its territorial ambitions over the
place that has found concrete expression in repeated armed
2. Pakistan's dismal track record is well known and many countries
have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to end cross- border
infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop
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acting as an epicentre of terrorism, India's Ambassador and

Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva Ajit Kumar said.
3. India's credentials as a peaceful, democratic, pluralistic
society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are
well established and on the contrary, Pakistan is characterised by
authoritarianism, absence of democratic norms and widespread
human rights violations across the country including Balochistan.


India suffered a setback in its efforts to build a robust domestic solar
industry on 16 September 2016 as the appellate body (AB) of the World
Trade Organization (WTO) upheld an earlier ruling against its domestic
content requirements for manufacturing solar cells and modules. The
earlier panel ruling held that India violated global trade rules such as
national treatment provisions under the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the WTOs Agreement on Trade-Related
Investment Measures by imposing mandatory local content
requirements on solar power developers, providing a guaranteed rate
for 25-year term.

The solar dispute arose from a complaint lodged by the United States
against India. Early this year, a dispute settlement panel panel
issued a comprehensive ruling in favour of US claims against Indias
domestic content requirements.
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The national treatment obligations required India to treat imported

solar cells and modules on par with domestically produced products
without any discrimination under Article III:4 of the GATT 1994.
The highest adjudicating body for global trade disputes agreed with
the panel that Indias domestic content requirements for solar cells
and modules under the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission amounted to
trade-related investment measures as they favour domestic products
over imported products.
Significantly, the AB disagreed with Indias appeal against the panel
ruling that the domestic content requirement) are not covered by the
derogation/exemption under the so-called government procurement
carve-out of GATT Article III:8(a).
This provision enables WTO members to deny national treatment
disciplines for the procurement by government agencies for products
purchased for government purposes and not with a view to engage in
commercial resale.
The US had argued that the product procured (electricity) is not in a
competitive relationship with the product being discriminated
against (solar cells and modules), and . such discrimination is not
covered by the derogation of Article III:8 (A).
India said the panel erred in not considering that solar cells and
modules are indistinguishable from solar power generation and
therefore, it is not necessary to consider these two products as inputs
for solar power generation.
India said the panel was wrong to base its findings on an earlier
dispute concerning Canadas feed-in tariff program for renewable
energy which did not consider this issues that arose in the US
The AB dismissed Indias arguments saying that the Panel was
properly guided by the ABs report in Canada-Renewable
Energy/Canada- Feed-in Tariff Program where the same facts
prevailed involving the purchase of electricity and discrimination
against generation equipment.
India also maintained that the panel erred in its conclusion that
discrimination relating to solar cells and modules under the DCR
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measures is not covered by the derogation under Article III:8 (a) of

the GATT 1994.
India took recourse to a GATT article XX(d) to argue that it had an
obligation to take steps to achieve energy security, mitigate climate
change, and achieve sustainable development, and that this includes
steps to ensure the adequate supply of clean electricity, generated
form solar power, at reasonable prices. The AB dismissed this
The highest trade court also disagreed with Indias demand for
reversing the panels conclusion that DCR measures are not justified
under Article XX(j) of the GATT 1994 as lack of manufacturing
capacity for solar cells and modules amount to a situation of local
and general short supply of such products in India. New Delhi
pointed out that the DCR measures are essential for addressing the
local and general short supply of solar cells and modules.
At a time when India is forging an ambitious security alliance with
the US, including cooperation on solar energy and climate-change
issues, the ABs ruling is a sober reminder/lesson that in global trade
based on mercantile trading framework, dollar-cent interests trump
over bilateral and climate change considerations.
Significantly, the US pursued aggressively policies that are based on
domestic content requirements and subsidies for generation of solar
power. Despite being aware of Washingtons DCR policies and
subsidy programs for renewable energy sector, India remained silent
for the past three years.


India has slipped by 10 positions to 112th, out of 159 countries and
territories, as it "fared badly" across categories including legal system
and regulation, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2016
Annual Report. The report is based on data from 2014 and measures
the economic freedom by analysing the policies and institutions of
all 159 countries and territories.

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As per report
1. Although China, Bangladesh and Pakistan lagged behind India at
113th, 121st and 133 th ranks respectively, Bhutan (78), Nepal (108)
and Sri Lanka (111) were better placed on the World Economic
Freedom Index.
2. India has fared badly in all categories i.e. legal system and property
rights (86), sound money (130), freedom to trade internationally
(144) and regulation (132) except the size of the government (8).
3. Hong Kong has the highest level of economic freedom worldwide,
followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Georgia,
Ireland, Mauritius, the UAE, Australia, and the UK.
4. The 10 lowest-ranked countries are: Iran, Algeria, Chad, Guinea,
Angola, Central African Republic, Argentina, Republic of Congo,
Libya and lastly Venezuela.
5. India's leading public policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society, has
published the report in collaboration with Canada's Fraser Institute.


Five Indian museums feature among the best 25 in Asia while Lehs
Hall of Fame has topped the India list as a must-visit place by
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travellers in a survey. The other top four most rated museums of India

Bagore Ki Haveli (Udaipur)

Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata)
Salar Jung Museum (Hyderabad)
Jaisalmer War Museum (Jaisalmer).

Darshan Museum (Pune), Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous

Cultures (Shillong), Heritage Transport Museum
(Taoru), Siddhagiri Museum (Kolhapur), and Gandhi Smriti (New
Delhi) also figure in the top-10 list for India. TripAdvisor will
honour the ranked museums with its Travellers Choice awards.
1. The list was determined using an algorithm that took into
account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for
museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
2. No museums from India feature in the top 25 world list, which is
topped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
3. It is followed by Art Institute of Chicago, State Hermitage
Museum and Winter Palace, Musee dOrsay, Paris and National
Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.
4. The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horse in China
topped the Asia list.
5. Museums provide a passageway into the history and culture of a
place and the Travellers Choice awards for Museums are a
ready reckoner for travellers keen to enrich their knowledge

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about the cities they travel to, said Nikhil Ganju, the companys
country manager in India.


Leaders from 195 nations will gather next week for the UN General
Assembly session with the issues of the war in Syria, climate
change, terrorism, refugee crises, tensions in Korean
peninsula expected to take centre stage at the high-level meetings.

1. The 71st session beginning on September 19 and running through
September 26 will be the last for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
as well as US President Barack Obama.
2. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the General
Debate on September 26 while Pakistan's Prime Minister will
address on September 21.
3. This year's high-level week at the United Nations comes at a critical
time. We will seek progress in resolving protracted conflicts and
rising tensions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East," Ban
had told reporters this week.
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4. About 1,100 requests for bilaterals have been put through, apart
from the ones with the Secretary-General and 545 meetings have
been requested, which include special side events and regularly
scheduled meetings.
5. The Secretary-General will have 124 bilaterals and he will
participate in 62 events.
6. Leaders of the UN and the International Organisation for Migration
(IOM) will sign an agreement to officially make IOM a related agency
of the UN system.
7. IOM assisted an estimated 20 million migrants in 2015.
8. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), Syria is one of the most complex and dynamic
humanitarian crises in the world today.
9. Since March 2011, more than a quarter of a million Syrians have
been killed and over one million injured.
10. Another 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country,
and 6.5 million are internally displaced, making Syria the largest
displacement crisis globally.
11. The US and Russia are the co-chairs of the international grouping
known as the ISSG, which comprises the UN, the Arab League, the
European Union and 16 other countries, and has been involved in
efforts to resolve the conflict.


India will soon move a detailed concept note at the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) to start discussions on trade facilitation agreement
in services. The note would seek suggestions and views of the WTO
members countries.

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1. India is pushing for a trade facilitation agreement (TFA) on services
to promote trade in this sector along with goods. The WTO has
already concluded a similar pact for merchandise.
2. The TFA in goods will come into force once two-thirds of members
have completed their ratification process. It contains provisions for
expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including
goods in transit.
3. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs
and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and
compliance issues.
4. On similar lines, India has asked for an agreement to promote
services trade as the sector contributes about 60 per cent in India's
economy and 28 per cent in the total employment.
5. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised the issue during
an informal meeting with key members of WTO on the sidelines of
the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) ministerial council meeting in Paris.
6. WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo had welcomed it and asked
India to submit the proposal for discussion.
7. TFA in services means liberalised visa regime such as multiple entry
visas, visa-free travel for foreign tourists and long term visas for
business community among other things.

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8. The move also assumes significance as about a dozen countries are

already negotiating Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) in the WTO.
India is not part of TISA.


World leaders meeting at the United Nations starting on 19 September
2016 will be trying to make progress on two intractable problems at the
top of the global agenda, the biggest refugee crisis since World War
IIand the Syrian conflict now in its sixth year which has claimed over
300,000 lives. Against a backdrop of rising ethnic and religious tension,
fighting elsewhere in the Mideast and Africa, extremist attacks across
the world and a warming planet, there are plenty of other issues for
the 135 heads of state and government and more than 50 ministers
expected to attend to try to tackle.

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1. The uncertainties sparked by Britains vote to leave the European
Union, the threat posed by the Islamic State extremist group, and
attacks in many parts of the world by IS and other terrorist
2. But Syria, where a tense cease-fire brokered by Moscow and
Washington went into effect, remains at the top of the agenda at
the UN General Assemblys annual ministerial meeting. An
apparently errant air strike in which the US military may have
unintentionally struck Syrian troops while carrying out a raid
against the Islamic State group could deal a crushing blow to the
US-Russian-brokered cease-fire. The cease-fire, which does not
apply to attacks on IS, has largely held for five days despite
dozens of alleged violations on both sides.
3. The UN Security Council held a closed emergency meeting at
Russias request to discuss the air strike. The acrimonious
meeting offered a harbinger of the difficulties ahead as the US and
Russia remain suspicious of each others intents in Syria.
4. The acrimony over the air strike could spill over into a Security
Council ministerial meeting on Syria scheduled for 21 September
2016. Russia was pushing for a resolution to endorse the cessation
of hostilities and look ahead, but the US refused to make public
details of the cease-fire deal citing operational security.
5. With the truce still fragile, no sign yet of humanitarian aid
deliveries, and supporters and opponents of the Syrian
government trading accusations, diplomats said there may be a
meeting of some 20 key countries on both sides who are part of the
International Syria Support Group to chart the next steps.
What Else Is Making News
1. The spotlight during the week is also certain to shine on three
leaders, who are all scheduled to speak at the assemblys opening
ministerial session.

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2. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who steps down on December

31, and US President Barack Obama who will leave office in
January, will be addressing the 193-member world body for the
last time. And British Prime Minister Theresa May will be
making her debut on the world stage less than three months after
the vote to leave the European Union.
3. In UN corridors and at private meetings, the question of Bans
successor will be a hot topic. Portugals former Prime Minister
Antonio Guterres has topped all four informal polls in the Security
Council but he could be vetoed, possibly by Russia, and there are
constant rumors of new candidates throwing their hats in the
4. The US presidential race is already a hot topic at the UN, and no
doubt leaders will be privately discussing the impact of a victory
by Hillary Clinton, and especially Donald Trump, on the United
Nations where the United States is the largest financial
contributor and has veto-wielding power in the Security Council.
5. The political declaration set to be adopted calls for separate Global
Compacts for refugees and migrants to be adopted within two
years. But human rights groups complained that it was watered
down, eliminating Bans proposal to resettle 10 percent of the
worlds refugees annually.
6. The Security Council is holding a ministerial meeting on
improving aviation security, and it could meet again if agreement
is reached on a resolution to support the nuclear test ban treaty
which will likely single out North Korea, the only country to
conduct tests in the 21st century.
7. The parties to the Iran nuclear deal are also scheduled to meet
Thursday as well as the Quartet of Mideast mediators, the US,
UN, EU and Russia, who are trying to get Israel and the
Palestinians back to the negotiating table.


The issue of what to do about the worlds 65.3 million displaced people
takes center stage at the United Nations
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General Assembly on 19 September 2016 when leaders from around the

globe converge on New York for the first-ever summit on Addressing
Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. With more people forced to
flee their homes than at any time since World War II, leaders and
diplomats are expected to approve a document aimed at unifying the
UNs 193 member states behind a more coordinated approach that
protects the human rights of refugees and migrants.
1. Its very interesting because if we are able to translate that paper
into a response in which many actors are going to participate, we will
solve a lot of problems in emergency responses and in long-term
refugee situations like the Syrian situation, Fillipo Grandi, the UNs
High Commissioner for Refugees told The Associated Press.
2. That may prove an uphill struggle, however, as the document is not
legally binding and comes at a time that refugees and migrants have
become a divisive issue in Europe and the United States.
3. A number of countries rejected an earlier draft of the agreement that
called on nations to resettle 10 percent of the refugee population each
year, something that has led a number of human rights groups to
criticize the document as a missed opportunity.
4. The US and a number of other countries also objected to language in
the original draft that said children should never be detained, so the
agreement now says children should seldom, if ever, be detained.
5. The UN summit has been sabotaged by states acting in self-interest,
leaving millions of refugees in dire situations around the world on
the edge of a precipice.


The US and China have agreed to continue working towards narrowing
differences and expanding practical cooperation on regional and global
challenges to maintain sound development in bilateral relationship
and to strengthen coordination in achieving denuclearisation of the
Korean Peninsula. President Barack Obama met Chinese Premier Li
Keqiang on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session.
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1. According to a readout of the meeting provided by the White House,
the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to narrow differences and
expand practical cooperation on regional and global challenges in
order to maintain sound development in the bilateral relationship.
2. Both leaders also condemned North Koreas September 9 nuclear test
and resolved to strengthen coordination in achieving the
denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, including by invigorating
cooperation in the UN Security Council and in law enforcement
channels on North Korea.
3. The two leaders noted the important contributions of the economic
relationship to the broader bilateral relationship and to the global
4. They discussed Chinas transition toward a more sustainable
consumption-driven economic growth model, with Obama
encouraging Communist country to accelerate its continuing efforts
to address industrial excess capacity, foster an environment
conducive to innovation and advance an orderly transition to a
market-determined exchange rate, the readout said.
5. The two leaders also discussed the importance of achieving progress
in negotiation of a US-China Bilateral Investment Treatyand of a
World Trade Organisation Environment Goods Agreement.
6. On climate issues, both leaders pledged to continue working toward
bringing the Paris agreement into force as early as possible and to
reach a market-based measure to reduce international aviation
7. The US and China, the worlds biggest polluters, formally joined the
Paris Agreement earlier this month.
8. China and the US together account for nearly 38 per cent of global
9. Both leaders also acknowledged the important role their nations play
in strengthening the international humanitarian system.


As Russian ground forces contingent arrived in Pakistan on 23
September 2016 for the first-ever joint military drills, The Russian
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Embassy in India clarified that reports that the anti-terror excercise

would be held in PoK are false. It said the drills were being held only in

1. A mechanised infantry unit of the Russian Southern Military
Command had reached Pakistan to take part in joint military drills
in Pakistan. The military drills are aimed at bolstering and building
up military cooperation between both countries.
2. The military drills increasingly reflect growing military ties between
the two former Cold War rivals.
3. Russian troops will be in Pakistan for two weeks from September 24
to October 10. Around 200 troops from the two countries will take
part in the two-week long military drills dubbed as Friendship
4. The strategic move comes amidst increasing defence ties between
Moscow and Islamabad as the latter was also considering purchasing
advanced Russian warplanes.
5. The joint drill is seen as another step in growing military-to-military
cooperation, indicating a steady growth in bilateral relationship
between the two countries, whose ties had been marred by Cold War
rivalry for decades.

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The UN Security Council has approved a resolution urging quick global
implementation of a treaty that would ban tests of such weapons.
Universal adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would result
in a safer, more secure, and more peaceful planet, as the United
States and 18 other council members approved the resolution, with
none opposed and Egypt abstaining.
1. Security Council approval comes as the Comprehensive Test Ban
Organisation set up to administer the treaty marks its 20th
2. CTBO chief Lassina Zerbo welcomed the vote, telling The Associated
Press that it will remind the international community that we
have to finish what we started 20 years ago.
3. The US remains one of the holdouts among the 44 countries that are
designated nuclear capable , the United States, China, Egypt,
India, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan that still need to ratify
the treaty for it to enter into force.
4. North Korean leaders appeared in no mood to ratify any time soon,
with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho vowing his country will expand its
nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple UN Security Council
5. Even without ratification, the UNs CTBTO already polices the world
for any sign of nuclear tests with a global network of monitoring
stationsthat pick up seismic signals and gases released by such
6. The White House has lobbied Congress for support since anti-treaty
minded Republicans rejected ratification 17 years ago under
President Bill Clinton, with Senate approval falling far short of the
required two-thirds majority.
7. But opposition remains strong, although advocates say that
computer modeling and other cutting edge techniques make real
testing obsolete.

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China plans to deploy its indigenously built drones for surveying and
mapping in the disputed South China Sea and along the contentious
islands with Japan. China is now capable of deploying domesticallydesigned drones in the South China Sea and Senkaku islandsclaimed
by both Japan and China in the East China Sea for surveying and
mapping, Li Yingcheng, General Manager of China TopRS Technology
Co Ltd was quoted.
1. The drones can fully cover waters 80 nautical miles from the
2. They can also partially cover open sea up to 1,500 nautical miles
from the coastline.
3. China which claims almost all of South China Sea said it has a total
of 12,186 islands and reefs scattered across a total area of 3 million
square kms.
4. Many are located up to 1,000 kilometres away from the mainland.
5. China has designed drones to handle complicated
surveying, including the ZC-5B and Zc-10 unmanned aircraft
systems (UAS).
6. The ZC-5B has a maximum flight distance of 1,400 kilometers, and
can stay in the air for up to 30 consecutive hours.
7. China has pressed air-patrols over the South China Sea after the
international tribunal quashed its claim of historic hold over the
8. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines have
counter claims over the area.

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