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May 23rd Current Affairs

International Issues

Opening a new era in private space flight, the U.S. company SpaceX became the first commercial outfit to launch its own craft toward the International Space Station.

The test flight of the Dragon space capsule, which launched atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket at 3.44 a.m. (0744 GMT), aims to show that industry can restore U.S. access to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year.

National Issues

The Lok Sabha passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011. The Bill, already passed by the Rajya Sabha, will protect children below 18 from sexual abuse. It seeks to set up special courts for speedy trial of cases against them and provide stringent punishment extending up to life term for offenders.

The Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Lok Sabha unanimously, with members from all parties supporting the measure for creative artistes, whose benefits are cornered by producers under the existing law.

Song writers, artistes and performers can now claim royalty for their works, as Parliament approved amendments to the Copyright Act that entitles artistes to lifelong royalty.

Bilateral Issues

The third round of India Arab Partnership Conference came to a close in Abu Dhabi with the adoption of Abu Dhabi Declaration. India and the Arab nations have agreed upon setting up of Arab-India financing institutions to facilitate banking transactions and encourage investments.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the two day conference, Arab League Deputy Chief Ahmad Ben Halli said strong India-Arab ties is the need of the hour and sought India’s technological support for development in the region.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration calls for expanding trade and investment between India and Arab world by setting up Arab India financing institutions. It will facilitate banking transactions and encourage investment to enhance the bilateral trade beyond the level of $144 billion in 2011.

Investment opportunities in Arab countries and India in small and medium enterprises, infrastructure, trade, manufacturing , tourism, mining, telecom and Information Technology ,agriculture and food security have been identified as holding lots of potential at bilateral and ministerial level of talks.

On the political front, the Arab nations appreciated India’s support for the just cause of Palestinian people and other Arab issues.

The two day Conference was organized by FICCI and Abu Dhabi Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, UAE Foreign Ministry and Arab League.

India will sign a long-awaited agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan through a pipeline that would cross Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy has left for Ashgabat via Amritsar for the signing of the agreement.

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will sign the gas sales and purchase agreement for TAPI pipeline during an international gas conference in the Caspian Sea resort of Avaza.



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