Current Affairs October 2019 - International


1 - India, Bangladesh signed MoU for setting up Coastal Surveillance Radar System in Bangladesh

Signed MoU

India and Bangladesh signed an MoU to set up a coastal surveillance system radar in Bangladesh. The two countries signed seven agreements and launched three projects including import of LPG by India from Bangladesh.

The other MoUs signed are

  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India.

  • Agreement on the withdrawal of 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni river by India for drinking water supply scheme to the Sabroom town in Tripura.

  • Agreement on the implementation of the $500 million Defence Line of Credit.

  • Agreement between the University of Hyderabad and the University of Dhaka.

  • Agreement on renewal of cultural exchange programme.

  • Agreement on cooperation in youth affairs.

2 - Palestine issued commemorative stamp to honour Gandhi on 150th birth anniversary

Birth Anniversary

Palestine has released a commemorative postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi, honouring his legacy and values, to mark the 150 birth anniversary of the world leader.

Uzbekistan and Turkey too released special stamps to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The stamp issued by Uzbekistan’s government is part of the “Outstanding personalities” series of its postal department and a similar stamp was also issued by Turkey.

3 - US stops imports of goods from five countries for suspected forced labour

US Stops Imports

The United States has announced that it is stopping imports from five countries for suspected forced labour. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) department has ordered immediate detention of goods coming from companies based in Brazil, China, Malaysia, Congo and Zimbabwe at US ports of entry for further investigation.

Under US law, it is illegal to import goods into the US that are made by forced labour, which includes convict labour, indentured labour, and forced or indentured child labour.

4 - "Khadi Nepal" fashion show on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti held in Nepal

Fashion Show

"Khadi Nepal" fashion show ensembling Khadi and handloom couture from India and Nepal was held in Kathmandu on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti. The programme was organised by the Embassy of India in association with South Asia Foundation as part of celebrating 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Ambassador of India in Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri was chief guest at the event. The event aimed to showcase the diversity of Khadi textiles and promote exchange between the two nations.

5 - Nepal's Lower House speaker resigned over sexual harassment allegation

Sexual Harassment Allegation

Speaker of Nepal’s House of Representatives, the lower House of Parliament, Krishna Bahadur Mahara has resigned from his post after a parliamentary employee accused him of raping her in her apartment in Kathmandu.

Mr. Mahara, a former Maoist rebel leader, has been an important leader in Nepalese politics. He led the team of Maoist negotiators who cut a deal with the government in 2006 to end the insurgency and bring the Maoists into mainstream politics.

6 - China celebrated 70 years of communism

China Celebrated

China celebrated its 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 15,000 military personnel and around 100,000 civilians took part, with about 600 pieces of military equipment on display.

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his respects to the founder of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Mao Zedong's embalmed body in Beijing. On 1st October 1949, Mao Zedong - or Chairman Mao - announced the formation of the PRC, after communist forces won a bloody civil war.

7 - Antonio Costa re-elected as PM of Portugal

Antonio Costa

Prime Minister António Costa of the center-left Socialist party won the general elections in Portugal with 36.6% of the votes and is set to become the Prime Minister of the country for a consecutive second term. The main opposition Social Democratic Party came second with almost 28% votes.

A healthy economy, with growth of 2.1 % last year and unemployment at around 6%, helped the Socialist Party win the elections. Turnout in election was just 54.5%, the lowest level for a general election since Portugal returned to democracy in 1974.

8 - FATF report indicates no sufficient measures taken by Pakistan to fully implement UN Resolution against Hafiz Saeed


The Asia Pacific Group (APG) of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has concluded that Pakistan has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1267 obligations against Hafiz Saeed and other terrorists associated with LeT, JuD and other terror groups.

APG's latest report, Mutual Evaluation Report of Pakistan, comes as a major setback for Pakistan, which faces the threat of being placed under the FATF's "blacklist". Pakistan was placed on the agency's "grey list" in 2018, and given a 15-month deadline to implement its action plan.

9 - US unemployment rate falls to 50-year low of 3.5%

US Unemployment

According to the monthly Employment Situation Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in September, the lowest it has been in the last 50 years.

Additionally, the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma fell to 4.8%. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.1 percentage point to 61.0 percent, a level last reached in December 2008. BLS’s separate establishment survey shows total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 136,000 jobs in September 2019.

10 - US military test fires Minuteman III ballistic missile

Military Test Fires

USA had tested an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missile traveled 6,750 km across Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.

Minuteman III is a long-range, solid-fuel, three-stage ICBM with the capability to carry single or multiple nuclear warheads. The missile is powered by three solid-fuel rocket engines and weighs 36,030kg (79,432lb). It has a range of more than 6,000mi (5,218 nautical miles) and speed of approximately 24,000km/h (15,000mph) at burnout.

11 - Ecuador to withdraw from OPEC in January 2020

Withdraw From OPEC

Ecuador will withdraw from the 14-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 1, 2020 because of fiscal problems. It is attempting to increase its production of crude oil in order to raise more income.

The Andean nation on multiple occasions not complied with the output quota fixed by OPEC. Ecuador rejoined the organization in 2007, after withdrawing in 1992. OPEC currently has a total of 14 Member Countries.

12 - China unveiled DF-41, the most powerful intercontinental-range ballistic missile

Ballistic Missile

China unveiled the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental-range ballistic missile at the National Day parade as it observed its 70th anniversary of Communist rule. DF-41 has a range of up to 9,320 miles (15,000 kilometres), more than any missile on Earth and is believed to be the most powerful missile on the planet.

The DF-41 could theoretically hit the United States in 30 minutes. China also unveiled the stealthy DR-8 drone that is believed to be able to fly up to five times the speed of sound.

13 - PM Modi and PM of Mauritius jointly inaugurate Mauritius Metro express

PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated two landmark projects in Mauritius via video conference. These are the phase-1 of the Metro Express and a new ENT Hospital. The Indian Government has granted $275 million for the Metro Express project and a grant of $14 million for the new Hospital Project.

These projects are being developed under a $353 million grant awarded by the Government of India to Mauritius in March 2017.

14 - Piyush Goyal attended 9th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting in Thailand

Piyush Goyal

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal attended the 9th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP Intersessional Ministerial meeting held at Bangkok in Thailand.

Out of 25 chapters, 21 chapters have been concluded. Crucial chapters of Investment, Electronic Commerce, Rules of Origin and Trade Remedies are yet to be settled. RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between 10 member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six free-trade agreement (FTA) partners - India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

15 - Romania government collapsed in no-confidence vote

Romania government

Romania's left-wing government headed by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila collapsed in a no-confidence vote. A total of 238 MPs in the 465-seat parliament voted in favour of the motion against the government. Ms Dancila became Romania's first female prime minister in January 2018.

Ms. Dancila had been fighting for her political survival since her Social Democrats, PSD, lost their junior coalition partner's support in August. This has paved the way for President Klaus Iohannis to appoint a new prime minister.

16 - India and Comoros sign 6 MoUs

India and Comoros

India and Comoros signed 6 MoUs in the fields of defence cooperation, health and medicine, arts and culture, tele-education (e-Vidya Bharati), tele-medicine (e-Arogya Bharati) and exemption of Visa for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders for short visits.

India will also be gifting medicines and medical equipments worth USD 1 mn, USD 1 mn for transport vehicles, USD 2 mn for procurement of high-speed interceptor boats and 1000 MT of rice as well as Line-of-credit of USD 41.6 mn for setting up an 18MW power plant in Moroni and a vocational training centre.

17 - Global Fund raised $13.92 billion to fight AIDS, TB, malaria

Global Fund

The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised at least USD 13.92 billion for the next three years at its Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France. French President Emmanuel Macron was the host of the conference.

The U.S. and France are the biggest donors with commitment of USD 4.68 billion and USD 1.42 billion respectively. The donations from governments, philanthropic donors and the private sector will be used to finance health programs in more than 100 countries. Major recipients of the fund are Nigeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

18 - Saudi Arabia allows women to serve in Armed Forces

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow women to serve in the armed forces as a part of economic and social reforms. Women would be able to serve as private first class, corporal or sergeant.

Saudi had last year authorised women to join its security forces and allowed them to drive and to travel abroad without consent from a male "guardian". Saudi Arabia is pushing to improve its image and attract tourists as part of a plan to diversify its economy away from oil.

19 - UNICEF launched Cryptocurrency Fund

Cryptocurrency Fund

In a first for United Nations organizations, UNICEF will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world. UNICEF will now be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies ether and bitcoin, through its newly-established UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund.

Under the structure of the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, contributions will be held in their cryptocurrency of contribution, and granted out in the same cryptocurrency. The first contributions to the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund will be received from the Ethereum Foundation.

20 - India, China, Pakistan to work together to study impact of climate change on Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region

India China Map

India Meteorological Department (IMD) is collaborating with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan, among others, to provide climate forecast services to countries in Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region. This centre will be under World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The centre will help to better forecast impact of climate change on Hindu Kush mountains. The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

21 - Interpol to hold general assembly in India in 2022


India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022. A proposal in this regard was given to Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi during Mr. Stock's official visit in August. 91st Interpol General Assembly in India in the year 2022 will be held as a part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence.

The general assembly of Interpol is an annual exercise hosted by member countries to discuss the resources needed for international cooperation, working methods.

22 - Chile President declared state emergency in Santiago

Emergency in Santiago

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency for 15 days in Santiago and gave the military responsibility for security after a day of violent protests over an increase in the price of metro tickets.

Protestors clashed with riot police in several parts of the capital, Santiago. At least 16 buses were torched and a dozen metro stations totally destroyed. The President has appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as the head of national defence to ensure public order and peace for the inhabitants of Santiago.

23 - IMF members agreed to double pool of money to aid distressed countries

IMF Members

Global Finance Ministers agreed to double a key pool of money that the International Monetary Fund can use to aid distressed countries but again put off giving more votes to major emerging economies. The IMF has been working to restructure its voting shares to give more weight to growing economies but some traditional powers have resisted since they stand to lose influence in the institution.

IMF membership has committed to revisit the issue by December 2023 and a new division of voting power would be expected to result in increases in the quota shares of dynamic economies.

24 - FATF retained Pakistan on Grey List

Grey List

Pakistan continued to be on the Grey List of the international terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force. The decision of FATF was taken after the completion of its five-day plenary session in Paris. FATF has given notice to the global financial institutions that they need to prepare to red flag the jurisdiction and ready their systems for the eventuality in February 2020.

The FATF Plenary noted that Pakistan addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

25 - WTO gave nod to US to impose trade sanctions on EU goods worth 7.5 bn USD


The World Trade Organization, WTO, has formally given the go-ahead for the United States to impose trade sanctions on up to 7.5 billion dollars worth of European Union goods. This follows a ruling that European planemaker Airbus received illegal subsidies.

The move by the WTO's dispute settlement body was largely a formality after the long-awaited ruling by a WTO arbitration panel. The ruling found that the European bloc and member States Britain, France, Germany and Spain failed to remove improper subsidies for Airbus that hindered sales by US rival Boeing.

26 - President of India addressed India-Philippines Business Conclave and 4th Asean-India Business Summit

Business Summit

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the India-Philippines Business Conclave and the 4th ASEAN-India Business Summit in Manila, Philippines. President appraised potential for the Philippines-India economic collaboration, India’s “Make in India” and next-generation infrastructure programmes and the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative.

President met and interacted with the parents of babies who underwent liver transplant in India under the Philippine – India Pediatric Liver Transplant Program. The President also visited the University of the Philippines Manila Museum to attend an event organised by Mahaveer Philippines Foundation.

27 - India to extend over $60 mn line of credit to Comoros


In order to strengthen bilateral defence and maritime cooperation between India and Comros, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has signed an MoU with the island nation Comoros to extend over $60 mn line of credit to Comoros for Energy and Maritime Defence Cooperation.

India through the EXIM Bank of India extended a Line of Credit (LOC) of US $41.6 million for setting up of 18 MW Power Plant in Moroni and another USD 20 million for the procurement of High-Speed Interceptor Boats. The trade between both the countries stood at USD 47.11 million for 2018-19.

28 - Kais Saied elected as new President of Tunisia

Kais Saied

Retired academic Kais Saied was elected as president of Tunisia by winning 72% votes of the overwhelming support of younger voters. The poll followed the death in July of Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia's first president freely elected by universal suffrage. Kais Saied is a political outsider and retired law professor.

Saied has promised public that his leadership will fight corruption, promote social justice and reform the police force which was a cog in the dictatorship toppled by the Arab Spring revolt of 2011.

29 - UAE announced establishment of world’s 1st AI University

UAE Announced

Abu Dhabi announced the establishment of the world's first graduate level Artificial Intelligence university named as Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence( MBZUAI). MBZUAI will enable graduate students, businesses and governments to advance the artificial intelligence field and students will be provided with scholarships, monthly allowances as well as other benefits like health insurance and accommodation.

The University is named after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

30 - India handed over 2nd pair of Mi-24V helicopters to Afghan Air forces


H.E. Vinay Kumar, Indian Ambassador handed over the 2nd pair of Mi-24V helicopters to Afghan Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid. These helicopters are a replacement for the four helicopters gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015 – 2016 and will be used for bringing peace, preventing threats from enemies, and for providing a better environment for the people of Afghanistan.

These helicopters’ stellar performance and offensive firepower will improve the efficiency of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in ensuring that the ANDSF maintain a better Counter-Terrorism capability.

31 - Italy set to introduce web tax on digital giants from 2020

Introduce Web Tax

Italy is set to introduce web tax on digital giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon from 2020. Italy approved a new tax scheme on digital companies in its 2020 draft budget. The Italian scheme is expected to collect about 600 million euros ($662 million) a year. Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri confirmed web tax at 3% on internet transactions.

The decision came after members of the European Union (EU) complained about web giants including Google collecting large profits despite paying little in tax. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development urged governments to redraw rules for taxing global giants.

32 - UN General Assembly elected 14 Member States to Human Rights Council

UN General Assembly

The General Assembly elected 14 States to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for promoting and protecting all human rights around the globe. By secret ballot, the Assembly elected Armenia, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Namibia, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Sudan and Venezuela. All 14 members will serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2020.

Created by the General Assembly in March 2006 as the principal United Nations entity dealing with human rights, the Human Rights Council comprises 47 elected Member States.

33 - 2nd Indo-French Knowledge Summit held in France

 Indo French Knowledge

The second edition of the Indo-French Knowledge Summit was held at University of Lyon in France to develop and structure collaborations in education and research, stimulate connections between research and industry, and encourage the mobility of students and scholars.

Around 15 agreements were inked between French and Indian participants during this summit. Over 300 participants from research organisations participated. The summit was organised by the Embassy of France in India, in partnership with Universite de Lyon, Campus France, and Emlyon Business School and the Ministries of Science and Technology and Human Resource Development (MHRD).

34 - Chile President dismissed whole cabinet after protests

Sebastian Piñera

President Sebastian Piñera of Chile has sacked his whole cabinet in order to form a new government and introduce social reforms demanded by protesters. Pinera had earlier declared a state of emergency across much of Chile and put the military in charge of security in the capital Santiago and other cities.

Protests began in Chile over an increase in subway fares and escalated into riots. 17 people were killed and more than 7,000 people arrested during the protests.

35 - Brazil exempts Indian and Chinese tourists from visas

Jair Bolsonaro

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced that Indian and Chinese tourists will be exempted from visas to enter Brazil for tourism or business purposes.

US, Australia, Japan, and Canada are already exempt from short-term tourist and business visas. Brazil is among the countries whose nationals are eligible to avail eVisa (Electronic Visa) for visiting India, available in five categories: e-Tourist, e-Business, e-Medical visa, e-Medical Attendant and e-Conference.

36 - United Nations WFP launches 'Feed Our Future' cinema ad campaign

United Nations WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a cinema advertisement campaign 'Feed Our Future' to raise awareness and take steps against hunger and malnutrition in the world. SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association, in association with the WFP, created the campaign to highlight the potential that is lost every time a child dies of hunger.

“Feed Our Future” will air across cinema screens in more than 30 countries. The WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

37 - World’s oldest known natural pearl discovered on Abu Dhabi Island

Natural Pearl

The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Called as the ‘Abu Dhabi Pearl’, it was found in layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period.

Prior to the Abu Dhabi Pearl discovery, the earliest known pearl in the UAE came from a Neolithic site in Umm Al Qaiwain.

38 - 18th NAM Summit held in Baku, Azerbaijan

 NAM Summit

The 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit 2019 was held between 25-26 October, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan took over the presidency of the movement from Venezuela for a three-year term from 2019 to 2022.

The theme of the summit for 2019 was "Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world". Vice President Venkaiah Naidu represented India and addressed the summit. The NAM Summit is held every three years. It is a forum for 120 member states to discuss issues of importance in politics, security, development and others.

39 - Sri Lanka removed from FATF's Grey list


Sri Lanka has been removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of countries at risk for money laundering. Sri Lanka was first included in the blacklist in 2011. By 2012, Sri Lanka was listed in the list as a dangerous country with no commitment to the financial security plan.

Sri Lanka was declared a cooperating state in 2016 and the FATF put Sri Lanka on a grey list from November 2017. Sri Lanka set out a sound framework to enhance the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards.

40 - 29th ministerial meeting of the BASIC held in Beijing, China

Ministerial Meeting

The 29th ministerial meeting of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) countries on Climate Change was held at Beijing, China on 25th-26th October 2019. The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Shri Prakash Javadekar represented India in the meeting.

BASIC Ministers expressed their concern for the global challenge of climate change and its adverse effects. They urged developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments of providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries in a transparent and grant-based manner.