Current Affairs June 2018 - International


1 - India released Rs 33.10 Cr to Nepal for 2 road Projects

Road Projects

India has released 33.10 Crore rupees to Nepal towards cost of two road packages of Birgunj-Thori Road being implemented under Postal Highway Projects in Nepal with Government of India’s grant assistance. The amount has been released towards 25% of tendered cost (including 10% mobilization advance) of the Postal Highway Projects.

The Government of India has so far released a total of 117.63 Crore rupees to the Government of Nepal for implementing 14 packages of the Postal Highway Projects. The construction of Dhangadhi-Bhajaniya-Satti road and Lamki-Tikapur-Khakraula road has been completed.

2 - Alicia Pucheta set to become Paraguay’s first woman president

Alicia Pucheta

Alicia Pucheta became the first woman President of Paraguay. Paraguay has a woman president for the first time in its history. She took over from Horacio Cartes who stepped down to become a senator. Pucheta is from the right-wing Colorado Party.

Pucheta will serve as President till August 15th. Mario Abdo Benítez, elected in April 22 polls, will begin his five-year term as president thereafter. Paraguay remains 135th out of 180 countries on the 2017 corruption index of Transparency International.

3 - Barbados Elects Mia Mottley as first female Prime Minister

First Female Prime Minister

Mia Mottley became first female Prime Minister of Caribbean island of Barbados by winning all the 30 seats in country’s Parliament. She participated from Barbados Labour Party. Caribbean island of Barbados is facing many financial issues such as sluggish economic growth, high levels of government debt and shrinking foreign currency reserves, etc. Mia Mottley has promised to bring stable economic growth and lower down government debt.

Mia Mottley has been the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saint Michael North East and has held various ministerial portfolios.

4 - Giuseppe Conte sworn in as new Prime Minister of Italy

Giuseppe Conte

Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Italy. He will head a government of ministers from a coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League party.

Mr. Conte is taking over from Paolo Gentiloni, who led a coalition cabinet for two years. Italy has had a long history of political turmoil with 64 governments since World War Two. The President of Italy is Sergio Mattarella.

5 - China successfully launched new earth observation Gaofen-6 satellite


China has successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite, Gaofen-6. It will be primarily used in agricultural resources research and disaster monitoring. It was launched on a Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.

It was the 276th mission of the Long March rocket series. A scientific experiment satellite named Luojia-1 was sent into space at the same time.

6 - Pedro Sánchez sworn in as Spain's new Prime Minister

Pedro Sánchez

Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Spain by King Felipe VI. He was the first Spanish Prime Minister to be sworn in without a Bible or crucifix.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of conservative People’s party (PP) was ousted in a historic vote of no confidence provoked by anger over corruption. Sánchez has just 84 MPs in Spain’s 350-seat parliament. While the Catalan independence crisis remains unresolved, many Spaniards continue to feel the effects of the global economic crisis.

7 - Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sworn in as President of Egypt for a second term

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as the President of Egypt for a second four-year term in office. He had won 97% of valid votes in the March presidential election.

The former army chief had ousted Egypt's first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi after mass street protests in 2013. He won his first term in 2014 with an overwhelming majority. Egypt currently faces major economic and security challenges.

8 - Ecuador's Espinosa Garces elected UN General Assembly President

Ecuador's Espinosa Garces

The United Nations General Assembly elected Ecuadorean Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of its upcoming 73rd session. She is only the fourth woman to hold that position in the history of the world body, and the first since 2006.

As a writer and poet, Ms. Espinosa has published more than 30 academic articles on the Amazon River, culture, heritage, development, climate change, etc. She has also published five volumes of poetry and received the Ecuadorian National Poetry Prize in 1990.

9 - Prime Minister Modi attended SCO Summit

SCO Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO summit in Qingdao, China. This will be the first SCO summit after India became a member in 2017.

Founded in 2001, the SCO currently comprises eight member states, India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the SCO last year. The SCO member countries represents around 42% of the world's population and 20% of the global GDP.

10 - India, China Sign MoUs On Brahmaputra River and supply of non-Basmati rice

India China

India and China signed two memorandums of understandings (MoUs) on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. First MoU was regarding Brahmaputra River and the other one on the export of rice from India to China.

China would provide hydrological information to India regarding the Brahmaputra River during the flood season - May 15 to Oct 15 - each year. The 2006 Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for Exporting Rice from India to China has been amended to include the export of non-Basmati varieties of rice from India.

11 - 44th G7 Summit held in Canada

The 44th G7 summit was held on June 8–9, 2018, in Quebec, Canada. The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The President of this year's G7 summit was Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

The five key themes were:

  • Investing in growth that works for everyone
  • Preparing for jobs of the future
  • Advancing gender equality and women's empowerment
  • Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy
  • Building a more peaceful and secure world

12 - Qingdao declaration at the 18th SCO Summit

Qingdao declaration

The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit concluded with the adoption of the Qingdao declaration that calls for implementing three-year plan to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism. It also calls for implementation of treaty on long-term good neighbourliness, friendship and co-operation.

India refused to endorse China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project as part of Qingdao Declaration at the 18th SCO summit. Prime Minister Modi floated concept of SECURE: ‘S’ for security for citizens, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity in the region, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E for environment protection.

13 - China awarded Friendship Medal, highest state honour to Putin

Honour to Putin

China has awarded the Friendship Medal, highest state honour of the People's Republic of China, to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the award to Mr. Putin.

China’s “highest honour” is bestowed on foreigners who have made “outstanding contributions” to the country’s modernisation drive and helped maintain world peace. Bilateral trade between Russia and China hit $87 billion in 2017 and rose by 31% in the first quarter of 2018.

14 - UK government tabled changes to its immigration policy in Parliament

UK Government

The UK government tabled changes to its immigration policy in Parliament. The amendments include a review of its strict visa quotas available to professionals from countries like India.

As part of the immigration changes, the government demanded independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the composition of the Shortage Occupation List. This is likely to further ease up the visa regime for businesses to be able to bring in professionals from countries like India to work in the UK. The Indian IT sector is among those expected to benefit from the easing up of the cap, a move welcomed by Indian industry.

15 - Japan adopted economic plan that allows more foreign workers


Japan's Cabinet has adopted an economic plan that would allow more foreign workers as the rapidly aging country seeks to make up for its declining workforce. Under the plan, Japan would relax visa requirements in sectors facing severe labor shortages such as nursing care, agriculture, construction and transport that it would start accepting in addition to highly skilled professionals.

The workers would be allowed to stay in the country for only up to five years as visitors, not as immigrants. They would not be allowed to be accompanied by family members.

16 - Donald Trump slapped 25% tariff on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump slapped a stiff 25% tariff on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods, as he accused Beijing of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices, triggering a full-fledged trade war between the world's two largest economies. China has imposed "equal" tariffs on US products.

Trump's decision to impose fresh tariffs on China follows his recent imposition of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union on national security grounds. The EU and Canada will enact retaliatory tariffs. Mexico has already retaliated with its own tariffs on US goods.

17 - Famous economist Omar al-Razzaz was elected as Jordan Prime Minister

Omar al-Razzaz

Omar al-Razzaz, a former World bank economist was elected as Jordan's Prime Minister replacing Hani Mulki, a business-friendly politician who was dismissed as a result of widespread protests against IMF-backed austerity measures that triggered some of the largest popular protests in years. Thereafter, King Abdullah issued a notice to approve a new government.

He has experience of working as director of the Jordan Strategy Forum and Jordan's Ahli Ban. Omar al-Razzaz will have responsibility to maintain balance between international lenders and provoked public as Jordan's debt-to-GDP ratio is 96%.

18 - India gave final aid of 99 million Nepalese rupees under Nepal-Bharat Maitri Irrigation Project

Nepal-Bharat Maitri

Nepal-Bharat Maitri Irrigation Project was launched in January 2017 for enhancing agricultural productivity in Himalayan region through enhanced facilities such as development of Deep Tube Wells (DTWs) and Shallow Tub Wells (STWs) in various regions of Nepal. In order to construct 2,700 shallow tube well irrigation systems in 12 districts of Nepal’s southern region, India provided final financial aid of Rs 99 million Nepalese rupees.

The 12 districts are Saptari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupendehi, Kapilvastu, Dang, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.

19 - North Korea and U.S. inked agreement on denuclearization

North Korea

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed the joint document declaring that Kim’s regime would “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. It was done in an intention to commit to a lasting and stable peace environment for people of the two countries for peace and prosperity. The declaration was a conclusion of historic maiden talks at Singapore's Sentosaisland.

In exchange of Kim Jong Un’s promise to peace, Trump committed to provide “security guarantees” to North Korea including a halt to joint military exercises.

20 - Yoga session organised in Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

For the first time, a yoga session was organised in the Australian Parliament. Several lawmakers including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott performed various postures in the federal legislature.

Marking the fourth International Day of Yoga on June 21, over 50 people attended the event. It was organised by Melbourne-based Vasudeva Kriya Yoga group at Parliament's community hall in Canberra. It was the first time that International Yoga day was celebrated in any Parliament in the world.

21 - World's most powerful supercomputer unveiled by USA


US scientists have unveiled the world's most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer that can complete over 200,000 trillion calculations per second- providing unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials and artificial intelligence (AI).

The US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory supercomputer called 'Summit' will be eight times more powerful than its previous top-ranked system, Titan. “Summit” beats China’s “Sunway TaihuLight” who has held the top position until now.

22 - South Korea held 2-days of war games to defend Dokdo islands against Japan

Dokdo Islands

South Korea held two-day war games to practice defending the disputed Dokdo islands off its east coast. The Dokdo defence drill is a routine training conducted to prevent an invasion from external forces.

Seoul has controlled the islets in the Sea of Japan since the end of Japanese colonial rule on the Korean peninsula. Tokyo also claims the islands, known as Takeshima in Japan, accusing Seoul of occupying them illegally.

23 - Bangladesh appointed General Aziz Ahmed as Army Chief

Aziz Ahmed

Bangladesh has appointed Lieutenant General Aziz Ahmed as the country's new Army Chief for a three-year tenure. Prior to the appointment, Ahmed was serving as the military's quartermaster general. He previously served as Director General of paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

Mr. Ahmed would succeed General Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiul Haque. Recently Air Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat took over as the country's air force chief.

24 - Russia successfully launched Glonass-M positioning satellite


Russia has successfully launched a Glonass-M positioning satellite using a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket. The satellite was launched from the Plesetsk space center. GLONASS (the Russian acronym for 'Global Navigation Satellite System') was intended to become operational in 1995.

The Glonass network provides real-time positioning data for surface, sea and airborne objects around the globe, at accuracy reportedly at par with the U.S. Global Positioning System. There are now 26 Glonass satellites in orbit.

25 - Greece, Macedonia sign deal that aims to settle decades-long dispute over Macedonia's name


Greece and Macedonia have signed a deal that aims to settle a decades-long dispute over Macedonia's name. Under the agreement, Greece's neighbor will be known as North Macedonia. Greece has long argued that by using the name Macedonia, its neighbor was implying it had a claim on the northern Greek province also called Macedonia.

Heated rows over Macedonia's name have been going on since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, of which it was a part, and have held up Macedonia's entry to NATO and the European Union.

26 - Inter-Governmental Ministerial meeting on anti-doping held in Colombo


The annual Asia and Oceania Region Inter-Governmental Ministerial meeting on anti-doping was held in Colombo with representatives from 29 countries including India. The 15th such annual gathering was also attended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to discuss important anti-doping issues that will help in the fight for clean sport.

The two-day meeting discussed how to make the most of government engagement, ensure compliance with the world anti-doping code, support capacity building and a range of other topics.

27 - World Bank provides $700 Million to improve Primary Education in Bangladesh

World Bank

The World Bank approved $700 million to improve the primary education sector in Bangladesh. The Quality Learning for All Program (QLEAP) will benefit more than 18 million children studying in pre-primary level to grade 5.

It will finance implementation of the government’s Fourth Primary Education Development Program (PEDP4). The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero-interest loans, has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75%.

28 - US withdrew from UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council

Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations announced the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the council of bias against US ally Israel.

The US withdrawal from the council marks the first time that a member has voluntarily left the UNHRC. A sitting member of the Council has never dropped out in its 12-year history, though Libya was thrown out after a vote from the General Assembly in 2011.

29 - Saudi women take victory laps as driving ban ends

Saudi women

Women in Saudi Arabia took to the roads ushering in the end of a ban on female drivers. It was the only country left in the world where women could not drive. The end of the ban was ordered in September 2017 by King Salman as part of sweeping reforms pushed by his powerful young son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The decision to lift the ban is expected to boost the economy, with industries from car sales to insurance set to earn good profits.

30 - Russia to supply technical security equipment to India


NIKIRET, branch of Production Company “Start” which is a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, and CORE Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement to promote Technical Security Equipment (TSE) in India.

According to the contract, CORE Energy Systems will buy Technical Security Equipment from Production Company “Start” and promote it in India as an integrated security systems & solutions. The two companies will jointly explore the opportunities and provide a wide range of services including Access control and security system, Data acquisition and Processing, Mobile security system.

31 - Nepal signed 8 MoUs with China

Nepal Signed 8 MoUs

Nepal signed eight agreements with China for developing major infrastructure projects.

  • MoU between the Investment Board of Government of Nepal and Huaxin Cement Narayani Pvt Ltd under which the Chinese firm has pledged Rs 14.4 billion (USD 130 million) of FDI to generate 3,000 metric tonnes of cement per day

  • MoU to prepare a detailed feasibility study on Eastern Tarai Irrigation System in the Biring, Kamala and Kankai rivers

  • MoU on establishing the highland food park for varieties of fruits and vegetables with an investment of over USD 46 million

32 - Tayyip Erdogan won Presidential elections in Turkey

Tayyip Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new five-year term after securing outright victory in the first round of Turkey's Presidential poll. He received the absolute majority of all valid votes.

Mr. Erdogan won 53% votes and his closest rival Muharrem Ince won 31%. The election completed Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a presidential one in a process started with a referendum in 2017. Erdogan has won several consecutive elections to become Turkey's longest-serving leader.

33 - FICCI leads business delegation at X International IT Forum in Russia


Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) along with several industry members, participated in X International IT Forum at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The IT Forum brings together industry leaders from BRICS and SCO nations as well as other countries to a single platform to interact and discuss collaboration in the field of Information Technology and Digital Transformation.

With an objective to showcase the strength of Indian Information Technology, Start-ups and Electronics Industry, members of Indian delegation participated as Exhibitors under the India Pavilion coordinated by FICCI at the forum.

34 - Pakistan placed on FATF’s ‘grey list’

FATF’s grey list

Pakistan has been placed on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for failing to curb anti-terror financing. The process began in February 2018 when FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List.

A 'grey list' means Pakistan's financial system is designated as posing a risk to the international financial system because of "strategic deficiencies" in its ability to prevent terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan remained on the FATF grey list from 2012 to 2015.

35 - World’s Largest Multilateral Naval Exercise RIMPAC began


The world's largest multilateral naval exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) began off Hawaii in the Western Pacific Ocean. The two-month long biennial exercise is likely to be attended by navies of 26 countries including India.

Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri has already reached Pearl Harbour in Hawaii to participate in the 26th edition of RIMPAC exercise. RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. It is held biennially during June and July.

36 - British Queen Elizabeth approved Brexit Law

British Queen

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth approved her royal assent to Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation that will formally end the country’s European Union membership.This approval has turned Brexit bill into law enacting Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill repeals the 1972 European Communities Act through which Britain became a member.

In a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of the participating UK electorate voted to leave the EU, out of a turnout of 72.2%.

37 - 15th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission held in Australia


The 15th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was held in Canberra, Australia. The two nations discussed at length on ways to increase two-way investment flows between the two countries. Investment opportunities in various infrastructure projects such as industrial corridors, ports, smart cities, airports and railway projects were highlighted in the meeting.

Union Minister Suresh Prabhu met leaders of the Indian diaspora in Sydney and highlighted the major reforms being under taken in India and positive contributions of Indian Diaspora not only to Australia but also to India.

38 - Ivan Duque elected as Colombia's new president

Ivan Duque

Conservative political newcomer Ivan Duque has been elected President of Colombia. Mr. Duque won 54% of the vote. Marta Lucía Ramirez, will become first female Vice-President of the country. The opponent was Bogota’s former mayor Gustavo Petro who received 41.8% of the vote.

Mr. Duque will take over from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos in August. He will be Colombia’s youngest president in more than a century. Duque has vowed to close the poverty gap, simplify the country's tax code and pursue the complete eradication of coca in line with his tough stance on drugs.