Current Affairs May 2019 - International


1 - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ousted in the no-confidence vote

Sebastian Kurz Ousted

Austrian Parliament has removed Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from office as he lost the no confidence in a special Parliamentary session. His previous coalition ally, the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) and the opposition Social Democrats (SPO) backed the no-confidence motions.

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen named Vice Chancellor Hartwig Loger as the interim leader. Loger will serve until a new transitional government can be appointed ahead of elections expected in September.

2 - Russia launches new nuclear-powered icebreaker in bid to open up Arctic

Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker

Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker, part of an ambitious programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential. The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

3 - Trump becomes the first foreign leader to meet new Japanese emperor Naruhito


US President Donald Trump got the red carpet treatment at Japan’s Imperial Palace where he made history, becoming the first world leader to meet with the new emperor of Japan Naruhito.

The US President is on a four-day state visit to Japan. Trump will go to the Japanese state guest house later for meetings and joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

4 - Cyril Ramaphosa takes oath as South Africa’s President

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa, the head of the African National Congress, was sworn in for a five-year term as South Africa’s president after being elected unopposed by Parliament following the sixth general elections.

He was elected earlier this month with a majority of 57.50%, the smallest since the party came to power 25 years ago. Mr. Ramaphosa initially took over from Jacob Zuma in 2018 after Mr. Zuma was accused of corruption. Mr. Ramaphosa is the country’s fifth democratically elected president since apartheid ended in 1994.

5 - NASA unveils schedule for ‘Artemis’ 2024 Moon mission

NASA Artemis

NASA unveiled the calendar for the “Artemis” program that will return astronauts to the Moon for the first time in half a century, including eight scheduled launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024. The original lunar missions were named for Apollo – Artemis was his twin sister in Greek mythology, and the goddess of hunting, wilderness, and the Moon.

Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed that Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed mission around the Moon planned for 2020. Next will come Artemis 2, which will orbit Earth’s satellite with a crew around 2022; followed finally by Artemis 3 that will put astronauts on lunar soil in 2024, including the first woman.

6 - Sri Lankan navy launches extra vigil over terrorists

Sri Lankan Navy

Sri Lankan navy has launched extra vigil on its northern seas in wake of media reports that some terrorist elements may have left the country to land on Indian shores.

Earlier, several media outlets reported that a group of 15 suspected Islamic State terrorists were fleeing Sri Lanka towards the Kerala Coast. Coastal security has been beefed up across the Kerala coast in wake of reports.

7 - British PM Theresa May Announces Resignation

British PM Theresa

British Prime Minister Theresa May announces resignation from her post. She will resign on 7 June.

Her announcement triggers the start of a contest to replace her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister.

8 - SCO Meeting Of Council Of Foreign Ministers Held In Bishkek

SCO Meeting

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represented India in the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also attended the meeting.

9 - Volodymyr Zelenskiy Sworn In As Ukraine's New President

Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Volodymyr Zelenskiy took the oath of office as the president of Ukraine and immediately announced that he is dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, the country's parliament.

In his inaugural speech, Zelenskiy called for the dismissal of several top security officials. He has replaced Petro Poroshenko.

10 - TAPI Pipeline Meeting Held In Turkmenistan

TAPI Pipeline

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline meeting was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The groundbreaking of the TAPI gas pipeline will be held in Pakistan in October 2019.

The TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2022 in Pakistan. The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has been touted by Turkmenistan since the 1990s.

11 - World Bank, CommBank Team Up For ‘World 1st’ Blockchain Bond Transaction

Blockchain Bond

The World Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) have teamed up to enable recording of secondary market bond trading using blockchain tech.

The institutions announced that their successful recording of a secondary transaction for bond-i, a blockchain-operated debt instrument, on a distributed ledger shows the “vast potential” of the technology, and marks the first bond to have both issuance and trading recorded on a blockchain platform.

12 - Saray Khumalo Becomes 1st Black SA Woman To Conquer Mount Everest

Saray Khumalo

South African Saray Khumalo has reached the highest point on the planet becoming the first black African woman to scale Mount Everest.

This was her fourth attempt at climbing Mount Everest. In a previous attempt in May 2017, Khumalo had to be rescued from Mount Everest by helicopter.

Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain at its official elevation of 8 848m above sea level.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the mountain's summit on May 29, 1953.

13 - WHO Declares Algeria, Argentina Malaria-Free


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Algeria and Argentina as malaria-free, with no recorded cases of indigenous transmission of the disease since 2013 and 2010 respectively.

It accounted for an estimated 219 million cases from 87 countries and over 400,000 related deaths in 2017, according to WHO's World malaria report 2018.

14 - US, Japan, South Korea, Australia Hold 1st Naval Drills In Western Pacific

US Navy Ships

U.S. Navy ships conducted joint drills with warships from allies Japan, Australia and South Korea in their first combined exercise in the Western Pacific.

The Pacific Vanguard exercise near the U.S. island of Guam takes place ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, as Washington looks to allies in Asia to help counter China’s military might in the region.

15 - TAPI Pipeline Meeting Held In Turkmenistan

TAPI Turkmenistan

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline meeting was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The groundbreaking of the TAPI gas pipeline will be held in Pakistan in October 2019.

The TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2022 in Pakistan. The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has been touted by Turkmenistan since the 1990s.

16 - EAM Sushma Swaraj To Attend SCO Foreign Ministers Meet In Bishkek

Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend the foreign ministers' meet of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Swaraj's Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also attend the meeting.

This will be the second Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting that India will be attending as a full member of SCO.

17 - Historic Move: World Gets Redefined Units Of Measurement

Units Of Measurement

After decades of ground-breaking laboratory works, the world’s scientific and technical community, in a landmark and historic decision has unanimously adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units, the kilogram (SI unit of weight), Kelvin (SI unit of temperature), mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and ampere (SI unit of current).

This decision has now enabled scientists and researchers to base the SI units entirely on fundamental properties of nature, which will ensure their ongoing refinement and improvement for years to come. The fundamental constants are invariants of time and space and successfully replaced the artifact based units, and aptly opened up the new era for quantum world by linking all seven base units to fundamental constants/quantum standards.

18 - Donald Trump Unveils Merit-Based Immigration System

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has rolled out a merit-based immigration system from which foreigners, including hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals and skilled workers, waiting to get Green Cards or permanent legal residency stand to benefit.

As per the proposed system, permanent legal residency would be given based on points for their age, knowledge, job opportunities and civic sense. The proposals significantly increase the quota for skilled workers from the existing nearly 12% to 57%.

19 - Taiwan Becomes First Country In Asia To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan has approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The successful bill includes limited adoption rights for same-sex couples.

20 - Saudi Arabia Approves Permanent Residency For First Time

Saudi Government

The Saudi government has approved for the first time a scheme that gives permanent residency to certain expatriates, allowing them to own real estate in the kingdom and reside with their families without a Saudi sponsor.

The "Privileged Iqama" system will offer a permanent residence scheme and one that can be renewed annually to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.

21 - UN Imposed Sanctions On Terror Group ISIS Khorasan

ISIS Khorasan

The UN has imposed sanctions on terror group ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) for its links with Al-Qaeda and involvement in several attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The United Nations Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee sanctioned Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan (ISIL-K). It is now subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

22 - Cannes Film Festival Begins In France

Cannes Film

The Cannes Film Festival has begun in France. Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare is leading the Indian delegation at Cannes and will inaugurate India Pavilion.

The Pavilion will showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging international partnerships in distribution, production, filming in India. Indian Delegation will also release a special poster to mark the golden jubilee of International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2019).

23 - Vice President Venkaiah Naidu 4-Day Visit To Vietnam: Complete Highlights

Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu undertook an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation extended by Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Vice President of Vietnam.

He was also invited by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and the organizers of the 16th UN Day of Vesak that is being held at the Tam Chuc Pagoda in Hanam Province in Vietnam to deliver the keynote address during the inaugural session.

24 - UN To Hold 2020 Ocean Conference In Lisbon

Ocean Conference

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to hold its 5-day long 2020 high-level conference early June in Portugal’s Lisbon to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Lisbon.

25 - 400 KMPH: Japan Tests World's Fastest Bullet Train

Bullet Train

Japan has started testing its fastest-ever bullet train capable of reaching 400 kilometers per hour (249 mph) as it continues to develop the revolutionary mode of travel. The ALFA-X version of the Shinkansen train began three years' worth of test runs.

Once it enters operation around 2030, it will run at speeds of up to 360 kph (224 mph),comfortably making it the world's fastest bullet train.

26 - Ireland Becomes 2nd Country To Declare Climate Emergency

Ireland Climate Emergency

Ireland has declared a climate emergency in their country, to be the second country after Britain to do so.

Britain's parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency, passing the largely symbolic motion on May 1.



27 - Australian Flight Carrier, Qantas Operated World’s First Zero-waste Flight

Australian Flight Carrier

The Australian flight carrier, Qantas has operated the world’s first zero-wastecommercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide which disposed of all waste through compost, reuse or recycle.

The Australian airline Qantas has planned to eliminate 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020 and also to reduce 75% of airline’s waste by the end of 2021.

28 - Facebook Chooses London As Base For WhatsApp Payments

WhatsApp Payments

Facebook has chosen London as the centre for the global roll-out of WhatsApp pay,before the social media giant launches its digital payments service on the mobile messaging platform in India.

WhatsApp would hire nearly 100 people in London to focus on the digital payments service and additional operations staff would be hired in Dublin.

29 - Vice President Embarks On 4-Day Official Visit To Vietnam

Vice President Embarks

Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu embarked on a four-day official visit to Vietnam to participate in 16th United Nations Day of Vesak.

During the visit, VP will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the event themed as "Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies."

30 - Singapore Passes 'Fake News' Law

Singapore Fake News

Singapore's Parliament passed a law to curb the spread of fake news under which offenders may face up to 10-year jail or fines of up to S$1 million (over Rs5.12 crore).

The law empowers the government to direct social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to carry corrections or remove content it considers to be fake news.

31 - The US Air Force Successfully Tested A Laser System To Shoot Down Multiple Missiles

US Air Force

The US Air Force Research Laboratory tested a laser system called Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) at the US Army’s White Sands Missile range in New Mexico which successfully shot down multiple air-launched missiles while in flight.

The system is designed for the purpose of protecting the aircraft from incoming surface-to-air and air-to-air launched missiles.

32 - India To Attend G-7 Meet In France

G-7 Meet

India will be attending the Group of 7 industrialised nations meet organised by France in Biarritz in August along with Australia, Chile, and South Africa.

The French ambassador to India Alexandre Zeigler stated that one of the issues on the agenda of the G-7 meet would be fighting terrorism in cyberspace.

33 - Japan’s First Privately Developed Rocket 'Momo-3' Reached Outer Space

Japan Rocket Momo-3

A Japanese aerospace start-up Interstellar Technology Inc. has successfully launched a first privately developed rocket ‘Momo-3’ into space.

The unmanned Momo-3 was launched from its test site in Hokkaido and reached about 110 kilometers (68 miles) in altitude before falling into the Pacific Ocean after 10 minutes of flight time.

34 - ADB Launches $5 Billion Healthy Oceans Action Plan


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a $5 Billion Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies for the Asia and Pacific region at the 52nd Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors in Fiji.

It will expand financing and technical assistance for ocean health and marine economy projects to $5 billion from 2019 to 2024.

35 - 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue Held in Qatar

Ministerial Meeting of Asia

The 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was held in Doha, Qatar. Gen. (Dr) V.K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs led the Indian delegation.

The theme of the meeting was "Partners in Progress”.


36 - Vladimir Putin Signs Law To Create Independent Russian Internet

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a new measure that aims to expand government control over the Internet.

It would enable the creation of a national network, able to operate separately from the rest of the world. The new law aims to protect Russia from foreign online restrictions by creating a "sustainable, secure and fully functioning" local internet.

37 - UK Parliament 1st In World To Declare Climate Emergency

UK Parliament

The UK parliament became the first national legislative body in the world to declare a climate change emergency.

It also calls for the government to work towards carbon neutrality before 2050 and for ministers to draft proposals within the next 6 months to restore the country's environment and create a "zero waste economy."

38 - UN Designates JeM Chief Masood Azhar As Global Terrorist

Chief Masood Azhar

In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations Security Council designatedPakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him under the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee.

The announcement was made by India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UN, Syed Akbaruddin.

39 - Akihito 1st Japanese Emperor To Step Down From Throne in 200 Years


Akihito became the first Japanese Emperor to step down from the throne in more than 200 years.

His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend the Chrysanthemum throne today, beginning a new era. 30 April was the last day of the Heisei imperial era.