Current Affairs - International
Supreme Court of Nepal orders Appointment of Deuba as Prime Minister
Nepal's Supreme Court on 12th July 2021 directed President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister and reinstate the dissolved House of Representatives for a second time in five months.
- A five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court stated that President Bhandari's decision to dissolve the lower house upon a recommendation of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli was an unconstitutional act.
- President Bhandari had dissolved the 275-member lower house for the second time in five months on May 22 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli and announced snap elections on November 12 and November 19.
- Oli, who is currently heading a minority government after losing a trust vote in the House, has repeatedly defended his move to dissolve the House of Representatives, saying some leaders of his party were attempting to form a "parallel government".
US places Pakistan and Turkey under ‘Child Soldiers Prevention Act’
The United States has added Pakistan and Turkey along with some other countries to a list of countries that are implicated in the use of child soldiers over the past year.
- Beginning October 1, 2021, and effective throughout Fiscal Year 2022, these restrictions will apply to the listed countries.
- The US State Department said in its 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) that Pakistan was among foreign governments identified during April 2020 to March 2021 that had “governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces, or government-supported armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers, as defined in the Child Soldiers Prevention Act.”
- This is the first time Pakistan has been put on the list.
- This is the first time a NATO member has been listed in the child soldier prevention act list.
- Turkey was providing “tangible support” to the Sultan Murad division in Syria, a faction of Syrian opposition that Ankara has long supported and a group that Washington said recruited and used child soldiers.
Other Countries on this Year’s List:Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.
Major provisions of Child Soldiers Prevention Act
The CSPA prohibits assistance to governments that are identified in the list under the following authorities:
- International Military Education and Training
- Foreign Military Financing
- Excess Defense Articles
- Peacekeeping Operations
- Issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of military equipment to such governments
Exceptions: For some programs undertaken pursuant to the Peacekeeping Operations authority.
WHO certifies China – ‘Malaria-free’
China has been awarded a malaria-free certification from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades. Other countries in the region that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982) and Brunei Darussalam (1987).
Initiatives that worked for China
- “523 Project”: In 1967, the Chinese Government launched the “523 Project” – a nation-wide research programme aimed at finding new treatments for malaria. This effort, involving more than 500 scientists from 60 institutions, led to the discovery in the 1970s of artemisinin – the core compound of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), the most effective antimalarial drugs available today.
- “1-3-7” Strategy: In recent years, the country further reduced its malaria caseload through a strict adherence to the timelines of the “1-3-7” strategy. The “1” signifies the one-day deadline for health facilities to report a malaria diagnosis; by the end of day 3, health authorities are required to confirm a case and determine the risk of spread; and, within 7 days, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent further spread of the disease.
Bhutan’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme Launched
- Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched its programme in Bhutan.
- India was chosen as the Partner Jurisdiction and has provided the Tax Expert for this programme.
- This programme is expected to be of about 24 months’ duration through which India in collaboration with the UNDP and the TIWB Secretariat aims to aid Bhutan in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors, and through sharing of best audit practices. The focus of the programme will be in the area of International Taxation and Transfer Pricing.
- This programme is another milestone in the continued cooperation between India and Bhutan and India’s continued and active support for South-South cooperation.
Agreement on Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes
The Union Cabinet has approved an Agreement between the Republic of India and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes.
Details of the Agreement
- This is a new Agreement between the Republic of India and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. There was no such agreement in past between the two countries.
- Agreement mainly proposes to facilitate exchange of information between the two countries and to provide assistance to each other in collection of tax claims.
- Agreement also contains tax examination abroad provisions which provide that a country may allow the representatives of the other country to enter its territory (to the extent permitted under its domestic laws) to interview individuals and examine records for tax purposes.
- Agreement between the Republic of India and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines will help in facilitating the exchange of information between the two countries including sharing of information held by the banks and other financial institutions encompassing the information regarding the legal and beneficial ownership. It will also facilitate the assistance in collection of the tax claims between the two countries. Thus, it will strengthen India's commitment to fight offshore tax evasion and tax avoidance practices leading to generation of unaccounted black money.
NATO Summit 2021
The 31st formal meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 14 June 2021.
Major outcomes of the 2021 Summit
1.NATO Countries’ Communique on China and Russia
- The NATO members issued a communiqué highlighting the “threat” presented by Russia and the “challenges” posed by China.
- “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security," the communiqué read.
- On China, the statement said: “China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance”. The statement added that the NATO members "will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the Alliance.”
2.Cyber Attacks and Space Attacks qualify for Collective Defense
- NATO leaders have officially recognized attacks in outer space and cyberspace as qualifying for collective defense.
- This change comes as alliance leaders grow increasingly concerned about China’s and Russia’s aggressive actions in space.
- Previously, the collective defense clause has only applied to traditional military areas of land, sea, and air.
- Outer space attacks primarily refer to interference with NATO country satellites that support military navigation, communication and missile launch detection.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries having its headquarters at Brussels, Belgium.
- The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
- A key provision of the treaty, the so-called Article 5, states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members. That effectively put Western Europe under the "nuclear umbrella" of the US.
- NATO has only once invoked Article 5, on September 12, 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in the US.
- The current Secretary General of NATO is Jens Stoltenberg – former Prime Minister of Norway.
- The most recent member states to be added to NATO are Montenegro on 5 June 2017 and North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.
UNSC Votes To Grant Antonio Guterres A Second Term
- The UN Security Council has recommended Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a second five-year term as chief of the world organisation beginning January 1, 2022.
- Last month, India had conveyed its support to Guterres for his candidature as chief of the world body for a second term beginning January 2022.
Abdulla Shahid Elected President Of The 76th Session Of UNGA
- Maldives’ Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has been elected as President of the 76th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
- The 193-member General Assembly voted on June 07, 2021, to elect the President, who will preside over the 76th session of the UN body that will start in September 2021.
- Turkish Volkan Bozkır is the president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
India Elected To ECOSOC
- India along with 17 other countries has been elected to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2022-24 term beginning on January 1, 2022.
- India was elected in the Asia-Pacific States Category along with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Oman.
- ECOSOC is one of the 6 main organs of the UN. It is the coordinating body for the economic and social work of UN agencies and funds.
- ECOSOC’s 54 members are elected for three-year terms by the General Assembly.
WHA Adopts ‘World NTD Day’
- Delegates at the 74th World Health Assembly unanimously adopted a proposal by the UAE to declare January 30 as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day’.
- Neglected Tropical Diseases (ntds) are a group of infections that are most common among marginalised communities in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms.