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September 2019 - International News




  • World Rose day is observed on 22 September.  It is for the welfare of cancer patients. The day marks hope for cancer patients that cancer is curable.

    The Day aims to spread a message to all cancer patients that they can fight the disease with strong will power and spirit. It also reminds the patients that there are many individuals and services that are providing support to them medically, financially and emotionally.


  • World Rhino Day is observed on 22 September. The event aims to celebrate the world’s five rhinoceros species and to reflect on the challenges facing them.

    There are 5 rhino species living in Africa and Asia. Three of the species namely Javan Rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered. One of the 5 species White rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) are considered near threatened, and greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) vulnerable to extinction.


  • International Coastal Cleanup Day was observed on 21 September.  Every year third Saturday is marked as the International Coastal Cleanup Day.

    The day aims to encourage the people to clean beaches, remove the garbage are hazardous to the ocean.
    International Coastal Cleanup Day was initiated in the year 1986. The day was begun by Linda Maraniss and Kathy O Hara. The observation has now grown globally with 6 million volunteers participating from 90 countries. In the first clean up session, around 2,800 volunteers participated in cleaning the ocean.


  • Bangladesh, Myanmar and China have agreed to form a tripartite joint working mechanism to oversee the repatriation process of Rohingyas to Myanmar. Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A K Abdul Momen announced this in New York after holding talks with his counterparts from China and Myanmar.

    The proposal was mooted by China which was also agreed to by Myanmar and Bangladesh. Dr Momen said that the first meeting of the tripartite group will be held next month (October, 2019). However, Myanmar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hou Do Suan downplayed the importance of the mechanism. The formation of the working group is not a new mechanism.

    Myanmar and Bangladesh already have a joint working group and China is only helping the two countries in implementing the agreements they already have. Bangladesh and Myanmar had signed two agreements in November 2017 for repatriation of the Rohingyas within two years but two repatriation attempts have failed as the Rohingyas refused to return without the guarantee of citizenship and safety in Myanmar.

    According to UNHCR, Bangladesh has more than nine lakh Rohingya refugees out of which close to 7 lakh 50 thousand refugees arrived after August 2017 fleeing Rakhine Province of Myanmar amid violence and military crackdown. Bangladesh claims to have 11 lakh Rohingya refugees in the country.


  • UN chief: World faces ‘unprecedented threat’ from terrorism. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the world is facing “an unprecedented threat from intolerance, violent extremism and terrorism” that affects every country, exacerbating conflicts and destabilizing entire regions.

    A Security Council ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders “the new frontier is cyber-terrorism — the use of social media and the dark web to coordinate attacks, spread propaganda and recruit new followers.” That the response to the unprecedented terrorist threat “must complement security measures with prevention efforts that identify and address root causes, while always respecting human rights.

    Russia, which holds the council presidency this month, organised the meeting on cooperation between the UN and three Eurasian organizations in countering terrorism — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and Commonwealth of Independent States. The United States and its Western allies echoed the secretary-general, stressing the importance of respecting human rights in counter-terrorism operations.


  • The United States has announced travel sanctions against Cuba's Raul Castro and his family, accusing the former president of violations of human rights.
    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued role as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party, Raul Castro oversees a system that arbitrarily detains thousands of Cubans and currently holds more than 100 political prisoners.

    The sanctions mean that the former president brother of late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro will be ineligible for travel to the United States.


  • Saudi Arabia to offer tourist visas for first time. Saudi Arabia has said it will offer tourist visas for the first time opening up the kingdom to holidaymakers as part of a push to diversify its economy away from oil. It will open applications for online tourist visas to citizens of 49 countries. Visas are currently restricted to expat workers, their dependents and Muslim pilgrims travelling to holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

    The kingdom will also ease its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the body-shrouding abaya robe that is still mandatory public wear for Saudi women. He said visitors will be surprised by the treasures of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty.

    Kickstarting tourism is one of the centrepieces of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 reform programme to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era. The austere kingdom, which forbids alcohol and has a strict social code is seen by many as a hard sell for tourists.


  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launches e-tourist visa. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 27 September, 2019 announced the opening of its doors to tourists from all over the world with the launch of the e-tourist visa. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the announcement was made during a ceremony organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) in Riyadh.

    Citizens from 49 countries will also be able to apply for an e-visa or receive a visa on arrival to Saudi Arabia. A dedicated online portal at visitsaudi.com was also launched and electronic kiosks are set to be available at airports to facilitate requests.

    The ceremonial event coincided with the World Tourism Day and was attended by a large number of international tourism makers and investors in the presence of the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili and President and CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).


  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kiribati's President Taneti Mamau on 27 September, 2019 signed a joint communique to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries on the sidelines of the UN climate summit. Chinese State media reported, the days after the tiny Pacific island nation severed ties with Taiwan, Kiribati established diplomatic relations with China.

    The move is a coup for Beijing just days before it marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and comes a week after the Solomon Islands also dropped diplomatic ties with Taiwan. And it leaves the self-ruled island more isolated than ever with just 15 States left that recognise it. Taiwan has been a de facto sovereign nation since the end of a civil war in 1949, but China still views the island as its territory and has vowed to seize it, by force if necessary.

    Over the decades, as China's economic and military power has grown, most countries, including the United States and most Western nations, switched recognition to Beijing. Only a handful still recognise Taiwan, largely in Latin America and the Pacific. Taipei has accused Beijing of using dollar diplomacy to buy off its few remaining allies. Visas will allow multiple entries and stays of up to 3 months for tourists. There are no restrictions for unaccompanied women as in the past, and Muslims can perform pilgrimage outside of haj season.

    Until now, foreigners travelling to Saudi Arabia have been largely restricted to resident workers and their dependents, business travellers, and Muslim pilgrims who are given special visas to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Alongside the new visas, foreign women visiting the Kingdom will not be required to wear an abaya - the body-covering robe the Saudi Arabian women are required to wear in public. Women will still be asked to wear “modest clothing.” The changes are the latest in Saudi Arabia's recent reforms in line with the Vision 2030 economic plan.


  • Britain, France and Germany have warned Iran against any further breaches of the international nuclear deal signed in 2015.
    The three European Union signatories to the deal have said in New York that they would trigger a special dispute mechanism if there were further violations. The UN nuclear watchdog has said Iran is using banned enrichment technology. The warning was issued at a meeting with Iranian Ministers on the fringes of the UN General Assembly.


  • The UN observes 26 Sept every year as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The day provides an occasion for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a priority. It provides an opportunity to educate the public – and their leaders – about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons.


  • Nepal releases coins to mark Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary.  To celebrate 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Nepal Rastra Bank has issued commemorative coins. In special ceremony coins of 2,500, 1,000 and 100 Nepali rupees were launched in Kathmandu.

    Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal and Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri released commemorative coins. Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee President Sardar Gobind Singh Longowal, Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh and many other prominent Sikh leaders from Punjab also joined the launching ceremony.


  • The International Day of Democracy is observed on 15 September.  The International Day of Democracy is observed on 15 September. The day aims to provide an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world.

    The day urges all governments to respect their citizens' right to active, substantive and meaningful participation in democracy. The day urges all governments to respect their citizens' right to active, substantive and meaningful participation in democracy.
    Democracy:
    • Democracy is a process which will happen only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society, and individuals. Democracy is a two-way street that is built on a constant dialogue between civil society and the political class.
    SDG:
    • In Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG-16) democracy has been addressed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to SDG, democracy is the indivisible links between peaceful societies and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.


  • US briefly overtakes Saudi Arabia as world’s top oil exporter.  The US has topped as the world's top oil exporter. The country defeated Saudi Arabia and Russia. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in June, the US exports of crude topped 3 million barrels per day.

    This pushed its total oil exports to nearly 9 million barrels per day. This has proved the US with a new status as one of the world's most influential energy producers.
    BACKGROUND:
    Reason for the decline of Saudi and Russia:
    • Saudi Arabia reduced the exports of crude and other energy products. The move is a part of a longstanding Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) effort to boost prices.
    • Russian exports were constrained by problems with a pipeline that delivers oil to central and eastern Europe.
    • Non-OPEC production growth has increased to 2.3 million bpd in 2020, up to 400,000 from 2019. Also, the demand for OPEC crude has been set to reach 28.3 million bpd in the first half of 2020, 1.4 million bpd less than the group produced in August.


  • Google to Pay Billion Dollars for Settlement over Tax Evasion in France. US internet giant Google agreed a settlement totaling 945 million euros ($1.0 billion) to end a tax dispute in France under an agreement announced in court. The company will pay a 500-million-euro fine for tax evasion, as well as a further 465 million euros to settle claims with French tax authorities.

    The settlement and hailed the fact it had put an end to fiscal differences that it had had with France for numerous years. The settlement follows similar out-of-court agreements reached in Italy and Britain by Google in recent. A coordinated reform for a clear international taxation framework.


  • UNESCO to publish an anthology of Guru Nanak Devs writing in world languages.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to translate and publish an anthology of the writings of Guru Nanak Dev in world languages to mark his 550th birth anniversary.

    The main aim is to commemorate 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, UNESCO decided to translate and publish an anthology of his writings into world languages. The government holding a series of events they initiated projects to mark 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

    The main aim is to construction of Kartarpur Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district in Punjab to the international border, the development of the historic town of Sultanpur Lodhi as a heritage town on the smart city principle. The upgradation of Sultanpur Lodhi railway station and release of commemorative coins and postage stamps.


  • World Bamboo Day was observed on 18 September.  It was observed by the World Bamboo Organization (WBO). The Day aims to raise awareness to conserve and promote the bamboo industry.

    The day also aims to bring the potential of bamboo to protect the natural resources and the environment and to ensure sustainable utilization of bamboo. It promotes new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world for community economic development.
    BACKGROUND:
    Centre's action towards bamboo:
    • Bamboo is known as a poor man’s timber and green gold. Bamboo grows fast, low on maintenance and has versatile potential. After China, India is the world’s second-largest cultivator of bamboo. The State of Environment report 2018 said that there are 136 species and 23 genera of bamboo spread over 13.96 million hectares in India.
    • In 2017, the Indian Parliament declassified bamboo as a tree on non-forest lands. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare launched the National Bamboo Mission with an aim to provide a boost to livelihood and environmental acreage. Also, the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched a scheme named SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) with an aim to boost traditional industries and bamboo artisans.
    World Bamboo Organization (WBO): WBO was initially founded as the International Bamboo Association (IBA) in the year 1991 at the International Bamboo Workshop in Chiangmai, Thailand. In 1998, IBA was re-established as the World Bamboo Organization (WBO). WBO is a non-profit organization that aims to improve and promote the use of bamboo and the products of bamboo for the sake of the environment and economy.


  • UK returned the stolen bronze image of Buddha.  London police returned the 12th Century AD Bronze image of Buddha which was stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum at Nalanda in 1961 to the Indian High Commission.Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman handed over the statue to the Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel.
    BACKGROUND:
    • The 12th Century AD Bronze image of Buddha seated in the Bhumipasara mudra was stolen by the British in August 1961.
    • The art was influenced by Buddhism. It was amongst the 19 bronze statues stolen from ASI Nalanda site museum.
    • In 2018, the statue was spotted by the India Pride Project, an online volunteer group of an Art enthusiast, at an auction organized by a London based dealer.
    • International Council of Museums (ICOM) inspected the image and confirmed that it was the one stolen from Nalanda museum.


  • World Health Organization (WHO) declared September 17, 2019 as the first World Patient Safety Day. Globally, 134 million adverse events contribute to 2.6 million deaths each year due to unsafe care. There are 28,000 deaths per year in Canada, patient harm ranks third in mortality after cancer and heart disease. The slogan for the day is Speak Up for Patient Safety. This campaign will mobilize patients and their families, health workers, policy makers, academicians, researchers, professional networks and the healthcare industry to speak up!

    The raise awareness of the need to formulate policies, creates a safe work culture, and provides care where the safety of patients is a priority. The WHO spotlights patient safety to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global action. The patients are more aware and engaged in their own care. There are many ways in which to help spread this campaign.


  • Sri Lanka unveils South Asias tallest tower, funded by China.  SriLanka unveiled South Asia’s tallest tower, costing over $100 million, 80% of which has been funded by China under the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The 350-metre-tall 17-storey Lotus Tower, located in the heart of Colombo city, comprises a television tower, a hotel, a telecommunications museum, restaurants, auditorium, an observation deck, a shopping mall and a conference centre. The tower, spread over an area of 30,600 sq. metres constructed at a cost of over $100 million, 80% of which was funded by China, Sri Lankan.

    Sri Lanka and China signed the Lotus Tower agreement in 2012 under the Chinese government’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build the highest TV tower in South Asia, with China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) being the general contractor. India has been severely critical of the BRI, the pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as it comprises the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

    The project which began in 2012 under the then-president Mahinda Rajapakse faced numerous delays amid funding issues. The Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) in a release said the Lotus Tower is foreseen to be one of the significant landmarks and an epitome of the country’s economy, culture and development. The tower, which is expected to function as Sri Lanka’s ‘digital TV tower’, is built with fibre optic cables and is fully equipped with necessary telecommunication equipment.


  • Indian air Force (IAF) receives first Rafale combat aircraft in France. Moving a step closer towards operating the Rafale combat aircraft, the Indian Air Force on 19 September, 2019 received the first Rafale combat aircraft at the Dassault Aviation manufacturing facility here. The first aircraft with tail number RB-01 was received by a team of Indian Air Force officers led by Air Marshal VR Chaudhary in France who also flew in the plane for around one hour, Indian Air Force sources told.

    As per the Rs 60,000 crore contracts signed between India and France, the first aircraft was scheduled to be delivered in acceptance mode to the Indian side and it will now undergo trials and tests for another seven months more in France, sources said. The tail number RB-01 has been named after Indian Air Force Chief-Designate Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria who had played a very important role in finalizing the country's biggest-ever defence deal.

    The planes would now officially be inducted on October 8 into the IAF when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visits France but the planes would start arriving in India only in May 2020 after validation of the India Specific Enhancements and training of pilots and personnel. The Indian planes have been equipped with a lot of India-specific enhancements, which have been fitted at a cost of around one billion euros.


  • International Day of Peace is observed on 21 September.  The theme of International Day of Peace 2019 is Climate Action for Peace. The theme focuses on the need of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

    The climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security. Due to natural disasters millions of people are forced to leave their homes and seek safety. The food security is hampering by the Stalinization of water and crops.


  • 24th World Energy Congress to commence in Abu Dhabi.  The 24th World Energy Congress will commence in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. The four-day World Energy Congress aims to bring together international energy stakeholders, including governments, private and state corporations, academia and media.

    With over 15,000 participants expected, the Congress is set to welcome over 250 high-level speakers, 72 Ministers, 500 CEOs, 1000 media persons with 40,000 square-metre exhibition space that will cover the entire energy spectrum. The UAE is honoured to be hosting the Congress, which builds on and reflects the ambitious energy transformation that the country is going through at present. The theme of this World Energy Congress is Energy for Prosperity which also represents the ambitious and dynamic energy transition of the country.


  • Vietnam has inaugurated Southeast Asia's largest solar power farm which has the capacity to produce 688 million kWh of electricity annually. The Dau Tieng Solar Power Complex occupies 540 hectares in Tay Ninh province and has an investment of more than $391 million. The complex was constructed on the Dau Tieng Reservoir – the largest artificial lake in Vietnam.


  • South Africa temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria. South Africa has temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria following reprisal attacks by Nigerians triggered by xenophobic violence in South Africa.


  • In Colombia, Presidents and Ministers from seven Amazon countries met to take measures on protecting the world's biggest rain-forest from wildfires and rampant deforestation. Colombia's Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano said, the new measures include the establishment of an Amazonian Cooperation Network to share information on deforestation.

    The information includes the weather data to mitigate the effects of climate change, and threats from illegal mining and logging. Presidents of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia also attended the meeting. Suriname's vice-president and Guyana's natural resources Minister also attended. Brazil was represented by the Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo. In a message to the Summit, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay called on leaders to reinforce existing instruments, designed to protect the Amazon.


  • India announced a line of credit worth one Billion US dollars for the development of the Far East region of Russia, on 5 September 2019. This announcement will prove to be a take-off point for India's 'Act Far East' policy. The two countries signed 15 agreements of mutual co-operation and both expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the summit.


  • As part of Indian Navy's Overseas Deployment to South East Asia and Western Pacific, Indian Navy ships Sahyadri and Kiltan are making a port call at Sihanoukville, Cambodia from 5-8 Sep,19. The ships are part of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet under the Operational Command of Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief. The two ships are equipped with a versatile array of weapons and sensors.

  • Russia to conduct 2019 Exercise TSENTR.  Exercise TSENTR 2019 is a component of the annual exercises part of the Russian Armed Forces like an annual coaching cycle. Exercise TSENTR 2019 is conducted by the Central military commission of Russia. This year the exercise is planned to be held between 9-23 September at Donguz coaching ranges in Russia.

    TSENTR 2019 aims to evolve drills and give practice to the participating armies in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism.

    It also aims to ensure military security in the strategic Central Asian region. The exercise will also focus on evaluating the preparedness of the level of the troop, the acquisition of the required skills and raising the level of interoperability and demonstrate the readiness of the participating armies. Apart from Belarus, China, Mongolia, Russia invited 9 other countries for the Exercise TSENTR 2019. In the annual military exercise, military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will be participating.

  • Canada government plans to create a protected marine area in the country's Arctic region. The move is after a severe climate change that took effect three times faster than global average weather. Multiple species in the coast of Baffin Island, in Canada's northeastern Arctic archipelago are threatened by the Glacial melting and maritime traffic. The move aims to protect marine area in arctic regions and protect the populations of belugas, narwhals, walruses, seals, polar bears and thousands of other species who depend on year-round sea ice to survive. These species are now migrating, or in some cases, disappearing, In order to save various species the areas are to be planned in well protecting manner. The establishment of protected marine area would help the Canadian government to achieve its goal to protect 10% of marine and coastal regions by 2020. Recently, the Canada government had invested in modernizing the Coast Guard. It launched two Arctic patrol vessels. It aimed to increase protection for national interests in the region.



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