Current Affairs May 2016 - International


News 1 - ASEAN Defence and Partners start Military Exercise on Maritime Security in Brunei

ASEAN Defence

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus Maritime Security and Counterterrorism Exercise 2016 began with an opening ceremony at the Multinational Coordination Center in Muara, Brunei. Eighteen countries, including Vietnam, are taking part in an international military exercise focused on maritime security and counterterrorism.

Navies of the 10 ASEAN countries are participating along with their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US. Around 3,000 personnel, 18 ships, 16 helicopters, two maritime patrol aircraft and Special Forces from the participating ASEAN nations and its dialogue partners are currently deployed for the ADMM – Plus exercise. The exercise will come to an end on May 12th.

News 2 - ADB's 49th Annual Meeting in Frankfurt

ADB Annual Meeting

The 49th Annual Meeting was held from 2 to 5 May 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany with 4 and 5 May as official days. This was to provide guidance on ADB administrative, financial and operational directions; and the chance for member governments to communicate with ADB staff, non-government organizations, the media and representatives of observer countries, international organizations, academia and the private sector.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley represented India in the meeting. He also met Mr. Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary to German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

News 3 - Five day Tagore Festival in Egypt to celebrate his 155th Birthday

Tagore Festival

The Indian embassy in Cairo and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture hosted Tagore Festival from May 8-12 to mark the 155th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. He visited Egypt in 1878 and later in 1926, when he met King Fouad and interacted with scholars in Alexandria and Cairo. He also wrote about the relationship between the Nile river and the Egyptian civilization.

Egyptian scholars have translated many of Tagore’s works into Arabic and have also written several books on Tagore. The festival will conclude on May 12 with a seminar on contemporary literature “Tagore, Shawky & Mahfouz”.

News 4 - US jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay 55 million dollars in talc-powder trial

US jury

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) was ordered by a U.S. jury to pay $55 million to a woman, Gloria Ristesund, who said that using the company’s talc-powder products for feminine hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer.

Ristesund, in her suit claimed that she used J&J's talc-based powder products which include the Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder on her genitals for decades. The company is facing about 1,200 lawsuits accusing it of not adequately warning consumers about its talc-based products' cancer risks.

News 5 - Zimbabwe to print local ‘US dollar’ to ease severe cash crunch

Local US Dollar

Zimbabwe is set to print its own version of the US dollar in order to ease a cash shortage in the country. The cash, known as bond notes, will be backed by $200m (£140m) support from the Africa Export-Import Bank. The new notes in denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $20 will have the same value as their US dollar equivalents.

The Central Bank Governor, John Mangudya, also announced limit on withdrawals to $1,000 or 20,000 South African Rand per day. In addition, the amount of cash that can be taken out of the country per trip has been cut from $5,000 to $1,000.

News 6 - Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny re-elected

Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny has been re-elected as Prime Minister of Ireland after 10 weeks of deadlock when the general election had produced no outright winner. He was re-appointed with 59 votes in favour and 49 votes against. His re-election followed a deal with a number of independent elected members and the Republic of Ireland's second largest party, Fianna Fail.

Enda Kenny belongs to Fine Gale party and the main opposition party is Fianna Fail.

News 7 - Landmark meeting of SAARC Countries on protection of Children to be held in Delhi from 9th-11th May, 2016

SAARC Countries

The eight SAARC nations composing the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) assembled in New Delhi from 9th – 11th May, 2016 for their 4th Ministerial Meeting, to set strategies and agree on commitments to ensure the protection and security of the children of the region. The landmark meeting is being hosted by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.

Delegates from the governments and civil society organizations of the eight SAARC nations will assess progress and developments of the past decade of regional effort and identify priorities for SAIEVAC for the next five years.

News 8 - Nepal recalled its Ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, over charges of non-cooperation

Deep Kumar Upadhyaya

Nepal recalled its Ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, over charges of non-cooperation and indulging in anti-government activities. The Ambassador had a "confrontation" with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli regarding the cancellation of President Bidya Devi Bhandari's scheduled visit to India, Nepalese Foreign Ministry sources said.

He has been accused of being involved in toppling the government and visiting some western Nepal districts accompanying India’s ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae without informing the government.

News 9 - UN launches Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Zika virus response

Multi-Partner Trust Fund

The United Nations announced the establishment of the UN Zika Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) to finance critical unfunded priorities in the response to the Zika outbreak.

This Fund, which aims to provide a rapid, flexible and accountable platform to support a coordinated response from the UN system and partners, will directly support the Zika Strategic Response Framework, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in consultation with UN agencies, partners and international epidemiological experts. The Zika Strategic Response Framework aims to investigate and respond to the medical dosorders linked to Zika virus, increase preventive measures, communicate risks, and provide care and support to those affected.

News 10 - Airport Show opens in Dubai

Airport Show Dubai

The 16th edition of the Airport Show was held from 9th - 11th May, 2016 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). Airport Show is the world's largest annual airport event and provides an ideal B2B platform for companies to present airport and aviation-related products and services.

Over 300 leading global companies participated at the 2016 event, showcasing their latest technology, innovation and product offerings to a 7,500 attendees, including 150 hosted buyers and over 50+ regional aviation authorities who attended the event.

News 11 - Sadiq Khan Elected First Muslim Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan has been elected as the new Mayor of London after beating Tory Zac Goldsmith by 1,310,143 votes to 994,614. He is the city's first Muslim mayor. He was a Labour Party candidate. His victory marks the return of Labour Party rule in the British capital after eight years of Conservatives in power.

Born in London to a working-class British Pakistani family, Khan gained a degree in Law from the University of North London. He subsequently worked as a solicitor specializing in human rights.

News 12 - Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte wins presidency election in Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte

Eccentric anti-crime candidate Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte won the Philippine presidential elections, following the withdrawal of his opponents. Duterte had almost 39 percent of votes cast. He has credited his success to his tough stance on law and order. He had stirred controversy during campaigning with his provocative comments.

The closest rival was Grace Poe followed by President Benigno Aquino’s choice Mar Roxas. He is a lawyer by profession and he became vice-mayor of Davao in 1986 and mayor in 1988.

News 13 - American Bison is the national mammal of the United States

American Bison

President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, officially making the American Bison, the national mammal of the United States. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of the country.

The Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison’s have continuously lived since prehistoric times. As of July 2015, Yellowstone’s bison population was estimated at 4,900, making it the largest bison population on public lands.

News 14 - Social Fridges Scheme open in Argentina as poverty rises

Social Fridges Scheme

Argentina has adopted a scheme from Europe`s economic crisis, which is putting food in outdoor "Social Fridges" for the needy. The country is facing hardship due to increase in job cuts and high inflation as high as 40 percent. It is called so because people leave food in outdoor "social fridges" for those who need it.

With inflation at around 40 percent, domestic prices are at the highest level and Argentines are finding their salary is not enough to buy the food they need 34.5 percent of the nation`s 40 million people are living below the poverty line.

News 15 - Legislation to strengthen US-India Defence relationship introduced in Senate

US-India Defence

The US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, who are the Co-Chairs of the Senate India Caucus. If the Act is passed by the Congress, it will elevate the status of the Indo – US defence relationship on par with that of America's closest allies like NATO and Israel.

The legislation has been sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for necessary action. Defence trade has risen from some USD 300 million to over USD 14 billion over the last 10 years. The Act urges US to facilitate the transfer of defence technology and maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

News 16 - India to develop $5 billion infrastructure projects in South Asia

Infrastructure Projects

The Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, while speaking at the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) 2025 workshop organized by ADB, has said that India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth $5 billion in South Asia.

India is currently developing two priority road corridors with the support of Asian Development Bank. The first will connect India with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan through the ‘chicken’s neck’ area of North Bengal and the second road corridor will establish India-Myanmar connectivity in Manipur. India is also developing the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), with ADB as the lead partner.

News 17 - Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes

Motiur Rahman Nizami

Bangladesh hanged the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Motiur Rahman Nizami inside Dhaka central jail amid tight security. The 73-year old was executed for his role in acts of genocide and war crimes during the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Nizami was convicted of three major charges stemming from the 1971 war, including the killings of 480 people. He was also held responsible for the killings of dozens of intellectuals, including teachers, journalists and doctors, just two days before Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971.

News 18 - World's oldest known ground-edge stone axe found in Australia

Ground-edge Stone Axe

A fragment of the world's oldest known ground-edge axe has been found in the remote Kimberley region of northern Australia. The tool fragments are estimated to be between 46,000 and 49,000 years old. The fragment is 10,000 years older than the previous oldest known fragments found in northern Australia in 2010. Archaeologists said the original axe would have been hafted — meaning it was made with a handle attached.

Professor Sue O'Connor found the thumbnail-sized fragment in the early 1990s at Carpenters Gap — a large rock shelter in Winjana Gorge National Park — one of the first sites in Australia known to be occupied by modern humans.

News 19 - Rwanda hosted the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa

World Economic Forum

Rwanda hosted the 26th Annual World Economic Forum on Africa in its capital Kigali from 11th to 13th May. The theme of this year’s summit was: Connecting Africa’s Resources Through Digital Transformation. The event focused on how to diversify economies, tackle inequality and strengthen collaborations among countries.

It attracted more than 1,500 delegates from Africa and beyond, including heads of states and governments, Chief executives of global and regional Corporations, and technology experts and enthusiasts. South Africa has been selected to host the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.

News 20 - Iran ends free shipping of oil to India

Shipping of Oil

Iran has ended free shipping of crude oil to India. Iran had offered free delivery of crude oil to Indian refiners in November 2013 as tough Western sanctions crippled its exports. National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has informed oil-importing companies that the future delivery would be based on Free on Board (FOB) basis and the freight has to be arranged by the buyer.

It also terminated a three-year-old system of getting paid for half of the oil dues in rupees and is now insisting on being paid in Euros for the oil it sells to Indian refiners. Further it wants refiners like Essar Oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MPRL) to clear nearly USD 6.5 billion of past dues in Euros.

News 21 - Brazil President Dilma Rousseff suspended for six months, to face impeachment trial

Dilma Rousseff

Brazilian senators voted 55-22 to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial. She was stripped of her presidential duties for up to six months. She is accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her re-election in 2014. She now has 20 days to present her first defence before the Senate and the trial can last up to six months.

She has been replaced by Vice President Michel Temer.

News 22 - CASA-1000 power project launched in Tajikistan

CASA-1000 Power Project

Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan launched the construction of an electricity power grid to link the four nations to a jointly operated power supply and promote regional stability, security and prosperity.

The CASA-1000 project comprises the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of a 750-kilometer high voltage direct current transmission system between Tajikistan and Pakistan via Afghanistan. It will enable Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to supply 1000 megawatts of surplus electricity in summer months to Pakistan and 300 megawatts to Afghanistan. The project is expected to be completed by 2018 with an estimated cost of 1.2 billion dollars. Prime Minister Sharif while addressing today’s event declared it a flagship project that will promote regional connectivity.

News 23 - Kenya to close the World's Largest Dadaab Refugee Camp

Dadaab Refugee Camp

The Kenyan government has decided to close the Dadaab refugee camp, which is the largest in the world saying that the camp harbored terrorists. The Kenyan government also announced to close Kakuma, a refugee camp housing 190,000 people, mostly South Sudanese fleeing civil war.

The Dadaab camp, with an estimated 328,000 refugees mostly from Somalia, compromises Kenya's security because it harbors some of Somalia's al-Shabab Islamic extremists. The UN has urged Kenya to reconsider its decision to close Dadaab camp.

News 24 - India and four other countries sign agreement on tax info sharing

Tax Info Sharing

Canada, Iceland, India, Israel, New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China signed the Multilateral Competent Authority agreement for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports ("CbC MCAA"), bringing the total number of signatories to 39 countries. The signing ceremony took place in Beijing, China.

The agreement will help automatic exchange of information on tax issues and develop new tools and standards for tackling tax base erosion and evasion. Other countries which have already signed the pact include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Italy and the UK. G20 Leaders endorsed the wide-ranging BEPS package in November 2015, marking an historic opportunity for improving the effectiveness of the international tax system.

News 25 - UNWTO and China organize the First World Conference on Tourism for Development

World Conference on Tourism

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of the People’s Republic of China will organize the First World Conference on Tourism for Development in Beijing on 18-21 May 2016. Under the theme ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’, the event aims to kick start a high level debate on the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several heads of state and government as well as tourism ministers and senior officials from over 100 countries are expected to participate in the conference.

The conference coincides with the China Tourism Day. On this occasion, China, as chair of the G20, will also host the 7th G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting under the theme “Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development”.

News 26 - Rwanda Captain Eric Dusingizimana bats for 51 hours straight to set new world record

Eric Dusingizimana

Captain of the national Cricket Team of Rwanda, Eric Dusingizimana, has set a new Guinness world record by batting out a straight 51 hours, the longest individual net session. He has beaten the record set last year by India's Virag Mane, who had batted a straight 50 hours.

He was raising money for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation – a charity set up to raise money and build the first dedicated international cricket ground in Rwanda. He began his batting on the 11th May and finished it on 13th May. Eric was bowled to by Tony Blair, Miss Rwanda and many others.

News 27 - US and NATO Officials activate land-based missile defence station in Romania


The US has activated a land-based missile defence station in Deveselu, southern Romania. It will help protect NATO countries from short and medium-range missiles, particularly from the Middle East. A similar project is set to be launched on Friday (13 May) in Poland, which will become operational in 2018.

The site hosts radar and SM-3 missile interceptors, and will be integrated into NATO's missile shield at the July NATO summit meeting in Warsaw. It has reportedly been set up at a cost of $800m (£554m).

News 28 - Jamala of Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest


Ukraine's Jamala has won this year's Eurovision Song Contest, held in Stockholm, Sweden. The country scored 534 points with its song 1944, about the deportation of Crimean Tatars under Josef Stalin. Australia finished second with 511 points, while Russia was third with 491 points. Jamala is the first Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest and her song caused controversy because of alleged political overtones.

It references the year when Stalin deported almost all of the Tatar ethnic group from its native region of Crimea in what was then the Soviet Union.

News 29 - British Royals launched Heads Together campaign

Heads Together Campaign

Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry launched the Heads Together campaign at Queen Elizabeth Park in East London. In the "Heads Together" campaign, the trio will work with charities "to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing”.

The Funds for this campaign will be raised through the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon. Prince William will target young men at risk for suicide while Kate will focus on childhood mental health. Similarly, Prince Harry will focus on military members and veterans.

News 30 - Port State Measures Agreement by FAO to enter into force on June 5

Port State

The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), a ground-breaking international accord by FAO is set to enter into force from June 5, 2016. It is the world’s first-ever international agreement specifically targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Around 29 countries and the European Union – which signed as a single party, have signed the agreement. The treaty refers to actions taken to detect IUU fishing when ships come to port. The new treaty requires ships provide local authorities with information, including on the fish they have on board, and allowing inspection of their log book, licences, fishing gear and actual cargo, among other things.

News 31 - UN creates new education fund "Education Cannot Wait"

Education Cannot Wait

A new fund, "Education Cannot Wait fund" was launched by the United Nations at the two-day World Humanitarian Summit in held in Istanbul, Turkey to assist millions of children whose education has been disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters.

The fund seeks to raise USD 3.85 billion from 100 donors in the public and private sectors over the next five years. The new fund will be utilized towards schooling of 1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. It will also be used in Nepal where 900,000 children are out of school because of the earthquake emergency, in South Sudan where one third of children are denied schooling and in Nigeria where Boko Haram have closed 5,000 schools.

News 32 - UNICEF and EU launch #EmergencyLessons campaign on Education in Conflict Zones

EmergencyLessons Campaign

The European Union and UNICEF today launched #EmergencyLessons, a new campaign to highlight the importance of education for children affected by emergencies. The social media-driven public awareness campaign aims to reach 20 million Europeans.

The #EmergencyLessons campaign draws on the real-life experiences of children living through emergencies in countries such as Guinea, Iraq, Nepal and Ukraine. Over the next seven months, their stories on the extraordinary lengths they go to obtain an education, will be shared on social media through #EmergencyLessons and raise awareness, understanding and support among Europeans.

News 33 - World Bank Approves $625 Million to Support Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Program in India

Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Program

The World Bank Board has approved a $625 million loan to support the Government of India’s program to generate electricity from widespread installation of rooftop solar photo-voltaic (PV). The Board also approved a co-financing loan of $120 million on concessional terms and a $5 million grant from Climate Investment Fund’s (CIF) Clean Technology Fund.

The World Bank loan has a 19.5-year grace period, and a maturity of 20 years. The loan from CIF’s Clean Technology Fund has a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 40 years. The overall potential demand for rooftop solar is estimated at about 124,000 MW.

The project will finance the installation of at least 400 MW of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (GRPV) across India. The project will be implemented by the State Bank of India (SBI) who will on-lend funds to solar PV developers/aggregators and end-users.

FYI: The World Bank Country Director in India is Onno Ruhl.

News 34 - US and India held first Maritime Security Dialogue

Maritime Security Dialogue

India and the US held their first Maritime Security Dialogue in New Delhi. The first round of discussions under the recently-constituted dialogue aims at deepening the evolving the partnership between the two nations in the maritime domain. The dialogue was held between officials of Defence and External Affairs ministries and their U.S. counterparts.

The discussion focused on strategic maritime security issues like Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement.

News 35 - World’s first robot lawyer, ROSS, hired by a US law firm


One of the biggest law firms of the US, BakerHostetler, has become the first to hire a robot lawyer, called ROSS, to assist with bankruptcy cases. The robot has been marketed as “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney.”

The robot is built upon Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer. Watson has cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities. The Robot reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and then returns highly relevant, evidence-based answers. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge.

News 36 - US Senate Approves $1.1 Billion in Emergency Zika Funding


The Senate approved $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus, less than the $1.9 billion requested by the White House. The fund would be designated for both international and domestic Zika control and prevention efforts.

About 361 million US dollars will be directed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for programs, and 200 million US dollars will be directed to the National Institutes of Health to aid in vaccine research.

News 37 - Nokia signs intellectual property licensing agreement with HMD global


Nokia signs a strategic brand and intellectual property licensing 10-year agreement to let HMD global create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights. HMD's new smart-phone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android.

HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. Nokia will in turn provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD.

News 38 - Indian journalist Philip Abraham to take charge of Deputy Mayor in UK

Philip Abraham

Indian journalist Philip Abraham has been elected unanimously as the Deputy Mayor of Loughton. Mr. Abraham, a journalist from Kerala and Editor of Kerala link, had won the election to the Loughton Town Council in 2012.

Loughton is a vibrant town in the Epping forest district of Essex. The elected deputy mayor normally goes on to become the mayor for the following year. Councilor Carol Davis, the newly-elected mayor presented the Deputy Mayor’s Badge to Philip Abraham.

News 39 - Tsai Ing-wen to be in-charge as the first woman President of Taiwan

Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen has been sworn-in as the new President of Taiwan. She became the island's first female leader to be the President. She succeeds outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou.

Tsai led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide win in parliamentary and presidential elections. This is the only second time that DPP has won an election in Taiwan. The Kuomintang (KMT) has been in power for most of the past 70 years.

News 40 - Nepal Organizes International Buddhist conference

International Buddhist Conference

A two-day international Buddhist conference was organized to mark the 2,560th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha advocating Buddhism as a means to avoid extremism in all forms. Over 1,200 delegates and observers from 28 countries were present from around the world for the conference from May 19-20, themed "Lumbini, Nepal: The Birth Place of Lord Buddha and the Fountain of Buddhism and World Peace”.

During the conference, around two dozen Buddhist scholars and renowned monks presented working of Buddha. During the event, the president announced the winner of 'Lord Buddha Peace Prize' worth USD 50,000.

News 41 - Beijing–New Delhi Yoga Conference 2016 held in China

New Delhi Yoga Conference

Over 1,000 Chinese yoga practitioners gathered for a group performance in Kunming city to begin Indo-China Yoga Conference, presenting activities including courses from Indian yoga masters and yoga introductions for communities. It was jointly organized by the foreign affairs and overseas Chinese affairs offices and the China-India Yoga College in Kunming.

It was a 5-day conference held from May 18 to May 22.

News 42 - G-7 Finance chiefs summit at Sendai


Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of Seven developed nations attended G-7 meeting to boost the global economy. The finance chiefs discussed efforts to regain the world economy, to boost demand for monetary and fiscal, as well as structural reforms. It was also discussed that G-7 has to pay attention to the downside risks facing the world economy, including geographical tensions related to terrorism, refugee crises and BREXIT from European Union.

It was mentioned by senior officials, that the strong concerns over China’s economic growth have eased, and the plunge in oil prices has partly recovered.

News 43 - US House of Representatives Approved Legislation to Strengthen Defence Relations with India

US House

The US House of Representatives approved legislation that is set to elevate its defence ties with India by amending National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment on "Enhancing Defence and Security Cooperation with India" was approved weeks before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to the US on 8th June.

According to the Press Trust of India, the changes made to this act will encourage the designation of a US official that will focus solely on US-India defence cooperation, facilitate the transfer of defence technology and ease restrictions on sale of defence equipment. The official is also expected to have an office in the Pentagon that will be dedicated to the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

News 44 - AKP’s Binali Yildirim to be sworn in as new Prime Minister of Turkey

AKP’s Binali Yildirim

Turkey's governing party tapped Transport Minister Binali Yildirim as its candidate to lead the party and become the Country's next Prime Minister, succeeding Ahmet Davutoglu. Yildirim is Turkey's minister of transport, maritime and communication as well as a founding member of the AKP. Traditionally, the placement of the post of Prime Minister in Turkey goes to the leader of the largest party in the Parliament. He was named as the Prime Minister after he was formally chosen for the post in a closed vote.

The supporters appreciate Yildirim for his role in developing the President's signature infrastructure projects, which have helped buoy Turkey's economy and boost the party's popularity.

News 45 - Belawan concluded India-Indonesian CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol)


Belawan, Indonesia conducted the 27th edition of the India-Indonesian CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol). On the occasion of its closing ceremony, Belawan saw the two navies conducting interactive session on measures to enhance inter-operability, held from 16 May to 19 May 2016.

The Indian and Indonesian navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002, to keep the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade relations. The CORPAT has boosted understanding and interoperability between the two navies.

News 46 - Hypersonic Superjet Technology HIFiRE tested in Australia

Hypersonic Superjet Technology

A joint US-Australian military team of researchers successfully tested hypersonic superjet technology as part of the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program in Woomera in South Australia, and at Norway's Andoya Rocket Range. The first test was conducted in 2009 with the project expected to be completed in 2018.

Hypersonic flight involves travelling at more than five times the speed of sound, by reducing travelling time from Sydney to London as two hours for the 17,000-kilometre (10,560-mile) flight.

News 47 - World Bank Group launched innovative Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility

Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility

An innovative, fast-disbursing global financing mechanism, Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), was launched by World Bank Group. It will protect poorest countries against deadly pandemics which will create the first-ever insurance market for pandemic risk, built and designed in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

The announcement came a week ahead of the May 26-27 Summit of Group of Seven Leaders in Ise-Shima, Japan. The PEF is in view of an insurance window, which combines funding from the reinsurance markets with the proceeds of World Bank-issued pandemic (catastrophe, or Cat) bonds, as well as a complementary cash window.

News 48 - Four Agreements on defence cooperation signed by India and Oman

India and Oman

The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar during his visit to Oman signed four Memorandums of Understanding on bilateral defence co-operation including enhanced military to military exchanges.

These four MOUs include an MOU on defence cooperation between the ministry of defence of Sultanate of Oman and Ministry of Defence of Republic of India; an MoU was signed between the Royal Oman Police (Coast Guard) and the Indian Coast Guard in the field of marine crime prevention at sea. Another MoU was signed on maritime issues and a protocol between Oman represented by Royal Air Force of Oman and India represented by the Indian Air Force was signed on flight safety information exchange.

News 49 - India and Iran ink 12 Bilateral Agreements

India and Iran

India and Iran inked 12 MOU to jointly combat terror, radicalism and cybercrime as the two strategic partners in the form of 12 agreements including a "milestone" pact on developing the key Chabahar port for which India will provide $500 million. 12 agreements include cultural exchange program, policy dialogue, training of diplomats, protocol on science and technology, cooperation between ICCR and ICRO, Chabahar Port, EXIM bank and Central bank of Iran cooperation etc.

The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure, and availability of about $500 million from India for this purpose, is an important milestone.

News 50 - Erdogan likely to take charge as Turkish PM


Turkey's Transport Minister Binali Yildirim emerged as the likely new leader of the ruling AK Party and therefore the next prime minister, cementing President Tayyip Erdogan's hold. Yildirim, 60, and a close ally of Erdogan for two decades, will be the sole candidate for the AKP leadership at a special party congress.

The AKP will elect a new leader after Ahmet Davutoglu announced his retirement and therefore as prime minister following an increasingly public rift with Erdogan. A new cabinet could be announced soon.

News 51 - Maldives' Ex-President Mohamed Nasheed Granted Asylum by UK

Mohamed Nasheed

Britain has granted political refugee status to ousted former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. The 49-year-old Nasheed had been allowed to go to Britain in January for a spinal cord surgery following a deal brokered by Sri Lanka, India and the UK.

Mr. Nasheed became Maldives’ first democratically elected leader in 2008. He was supposed to return to Maldives after the treatment, but remained in London where his wife and daughters have been living since he was jailed. Nasheed was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges. He was accorded a red carp

News 52 - Obama announced an end to its restriction on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam


The US has announced an end to its restriction on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam during President Obama’s official three-day visit to Vietnam, where he made the announcement. The embargo partially lifted in 2014 by Obama allowed Vietnam to purchase naval-defense equipment.

It was a move by US to strengthen its relationship with its Pacific allies, as China asserts territorial claims. Vietnam is one of several countries in the region involved in maritime disputes with China. The US insists on the right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

News 53 - New Disability Charter Endorsed at the UN Humanitarian Summit

UN Humanitarian Summit

A new charter named as the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, to significantly improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies has been endorsed at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

This Charter is based on five principals:

  • Non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities;

  • Involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs;

  • Ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities;

  • Implementation of inclusive global policies; and

  • Cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve inclusion of people with disabilities.

News 54 - Baciro Dja appointed as Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau

Baciro Dja

The President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau named Baciro Dja as Prime Minister according to a Presidential Decree. Dja succeeds Carlos Correia, who was sacked earlier this month. Political opponents have opposed the appointment terming it to be unconstitutional.

The ruling party which is known as the Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), said it would not support Dja. The West-African nation has not seen a democratically elected leader serve a full term since independence in 1974.

News 55 - World Humanitarian Summit Concludes in Istanbul

World Humanitarian Summit

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit concluded in Istanbul. The summit endorsed five responsibilities to improve aid delivery, support refugees, uphold international law, increase financing and prevent the crises generating the largest migration flows in 70 years.

The two-day Summit brought together 55 Heads of State and Government and other officials from 173 countries. The main achievement of the summit was the Grand Bargain, which is the name for a set of 51 commitments to reform humanitarian financing to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective.