(Current Affairs For SSC Exams) International Events | August : 2012

International Events

PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER YUSUF RAJA GILANI DEBARRED FROM OFFICE

The SC of Pakistan on 19 June 2012, debarred Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raja Gilani from his office. The court’s ruling also disqualified Gilani as the member of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). Gilani was convicted for violating the article 63(1) (g) (contempt of court) of the constitution of Pakistan on 26 April 2012 by the Supreme Court. The court’s verdict came following Gilani’s refusal to probe cases of corruption against Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. The three-judge Bench of the apex Pakistani court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry held Gilani, Pakistan’s longest serving Prime Minister, ineligible for the post since 26 April 2012 when the court awarded him a symbolic 30-second sentence for the contempt of court. The court also instructed the President to take necessary measures under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through the parliamentary system of government. Earlier the Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Fehmida Mirza had ruled that Gilani can’t be disqualified as the PM of the country as the conviction for the contempt of court awarded to him does not merit Disqualification. Born on 9 June 1952, Yusuf Raja Gilani, had been the member of Pakistan’s National
Assembly from Multan-IV constituency since 1988. In 2008 general elections he led Pakistan People Party (PPP) to a victory, to take over as the 16th Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

THE CASE AGAINST GILANI

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had instructed the Prime Minster Yusuf Raja Gilani to ask Swiss authorities to reopen cases of multi-million dollar graft cases against the President Asif Ali Zardari, which the Prime Minister
refused to follow, citing constitutional immunity enjoyed by the president as the reason. Asif Ali Zardari was accused of laundering an estimated 12 million dollar, received as the kickback by the companies looking for customs inspection contracts, to his Swiss Bank account, when his wife Benazir Ali Bhutto was the Prime Minister of the country during 1990s.

ANTONIS SAMARA SWORN IN AS THE PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE

Antonis Samara, the New Democracy Party leader sworn in as the Prime Minister of Greece on 20 June 2012. Samaras’s centreright New Democracy party bagged 129 seats of 300 in the parliamentary elections held on 17 June 2012. The New Democracy Party formed the new government with the support of socialist party Pasok (with 33 seats) and the Democratic Left party (with 17 seats). The fresh elections were held in Greece following the political parties failure to reach an agreement on the results of the first election held on 6 May 2012. Greece has been passing through the severe economic crisis which started in 2008. The country which makes nearly 2 per cent of the gross economic output of the Euro zone has seriously been contemplating the option of pulling out of the group. The exit of Greece from the eurozone raises a serious question over the future of European Union as many larger European economies such as Spain, Italy, Potugal are also likely to follow in the steps of Greece. To rescue Greece out of the economic crisis the European Union and International Monetary Fund had granted a 110 billion Euro package to the country in 2010, followed by a 130 billion Euro package in 2012.

THE GREECE CRISIS

Greece over the past ten years took a massive amount of loan from different sources, to keep its numerous public expenditure and social security programs going. But hit hard by the 2008-09 economic recession the country failed to pay back its loan to lenders. Hence, it defaulted in its mandatory loan repayments. Since the country is the part of Eurozone, the economic catastrophe which hit the nation, directly affected the entire Eurozone economy. Though, Germany and France, the two largest economies of Eurozone, bailed Greece out in 2010 it again slipped in the same situation forcing other EU nations to plan another bailout for the nation.

PAKISTAN TEST FIRED NUCLEAR CAPABLE BABUR MISSILE

Pakistan successfully test fired the indigenously developed Hatf-VII (Babur) cruise missile on 5 June 2012. Hatf-VII is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads. The missile is highly accurate Pakistani developed cruise missile with a range of 700 km. According to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement, the missile was launched from a multi-tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLV). The missile significantly enhances the targeting and employment options of the Babur weapon system in both the conventional and nuclear modes. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani praised the scientists for the successful test. Earlier on 29 May 2012 Pakistan had successfully carried out the test of indigenously developed Short Range Surface to Surface Multi Tube Missile Hatf IX (NASR) followed by the test of nuclear-capable cruise missile Hatf-VIII (Ra’ad) whose test was conducted on 31 May 2012.

AUNG SAAN SUU KYI VISITED THAILAND

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung Saan Suu Kyi carried out her first trip outside the country since 1988. Suu Kyi, who is also Myanmar’s principal opposition leader, visited Thailand as her first foreign visit after she was elected to the country’s parliament following the by-elections. The Nobel laureate arrived Thailand on 29 May 2012 on a six-day visit. During her visit to the neighboring country Suu Kyi addressed the world leaders at the World Economic Forum. She also visited a sprawling camp on Thailand’s border which is home to up to 140000 ethnic Karen refugees. After her trip to Thailand she would visit to Europe in June 2012. During her visit to Europe, she is also intended to formally receive her Nobel Prize which she had won in 1991. Suu Kyi will also visit her family residing in the UK. She is also scheduled to address the British parliament on 21 June 2012. Earlier Suu Kyi had refused to leave the country during brief periods of freedom as she was afraid that she would not be allowed to return to the country again. Suu Kyi, who had been a political prisoner for nearly 15 years went on to become the Myanmar’s most revered leader in past 25 years after she spearheaded a tough battle against the tyranny of the autocratic government of the country. Globally acclaimed pro-democracy leader, Suu Kyi was at the forefront of Myanmar’s quest for democracy as she relentlessly fought to bring out the much needed political reforms in nthe country. Her persistent striving for the democracy in the country drew the attention of the world community and got her the global support in the struggle against the Junta government. Suu Kyi’s life long battle for democracy did not prove worthless as the military controlled government finally gave in to her demand and announced the political reforms in the country. Suu Kyi’s victory in the by-elections, held in April 2012 was considered to be one of the biggest milestones achieved by the country. Although the country is still being ruled by the military controlled government, the recent political developments hold a great significance and being consisered as the revolutionary step towards the complete democracy.

NEPAL SC ISSUED SHOW CAUSE NOTICE TO GOVERNMENT

Nepal’s Supreme Court issued a show cause notice to the government over the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the announcement of fresh elections  (scheduled to take place on 22 November 2012). The bench also called for written clarification from the government within ten days. The single bench of the Apex court of Justice Tahir Ali Ansari ruled that a special bench should hear the matter as it bore serious constitutional questions and public concern. The political parties called for fresh elections after they failed to promulgate a new constitution by the 27 May 2012 deadline.

MOHAMMED MURSI WON THE EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Mohammed Mursi, leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), on 24 June 2012 was declared victorious in Egypt’s historical presidential election. Mursi bagged 51.73 per cent of the total 13.23 million votes cast, while his closest rival Ahmed Shafiq, the former Egyptian PM and the independent candidate, polled 48.3 per cent votes. The FJP is an independent political party, which enjoys a strong political support from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and best-organized political group in Egypt. The first Presidential election, which was alo the first free elections in the history of the country, was held on 23 and 24 May 2012 followed by the main election, held on 16 and 17 June 2012. The presidential election 2012 was the  first presidential election in the country after the 2011 Egyptian revolution during the Arab Spring, which ousted the autocratic president Hosne Mubarak from the office.

THE TIMELINE

Egypt, which was officially named the Arab Republic of Egypt on 18 June 1953, has remained under constant autocratic rule since 1967 (barring the 18-month break in 1980). Between 1981 and 2011, the country was governed by authoritarian ruler Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, who rose to power following the assassination of President Mohammed Anwar El- Sadat. But the thunderous Arab Uprising in 2011, which led to a wide spread movement for democracy in Egypt and several other Arab states, forced Mubarak to step down after reining in the country for 30 years. Mubarak, who stepped down on 11 February 2011, entrusted the power to the army led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. The 18-day unrest in the country claimed lives of about 850 people. After taking the rein of the country,  the Army scrapped the constitution and dissolved parliament. It also
promised to reinstate democracy in the country by holding a nationwide Presidential election. But a long delay from the military government’s side in setting up the democratic government, caused thousands of people resume the protest against the government. On 29 June 2011, in a violent protest held at Tehrir Square of Cairo, the place which symbolized the Arab Uprising, more than 1000 people  were left wounded and score others
left dead. On 28 and 29 November, Egypt held its first post-uprising parliamentary election, which saw Islamist parties claiming the victory on nearly 75 per cent of seats. On 23 and 24 May 2012 the country held its first its first free presidential election followed by the main election which was held on 16 and 17 June 2012. Putting an end to the 18-month long political turmoil in the country the Muslim  Brotherhood affiliated Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohammed Mursi won the election.

IMPACT OF THE MOHAMMAD MURSI’S VICTORY

The victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammad Mursi has virtually delighted the entire Arab world. Being the first Islamic President of the country, Mursi is expected to cooperate in a better manner with other Islamic nations in the region. The victory of Mursi also holds a larger significance in the context of Arab- Israel conflict. The poll verdict, which appeared highly satisfactory for the Palestinians, caused the same amount of anxiety among the Israeli establishment. Islamist leader’s rise to power certainly perturbed the Israel and its allies in the world, which had long been  at loggerheads with Arab countries. Given the fact that Palestinian
organization Hamas is popularly called the daughter of the Muslim Brotherhood and has always shared a warm tie with the mother organization, the two countries are  likely to team up against Isreal on regional issues which will apparently intensify the hatred politics in the middle-east.

SEVENTH G20 SUMMIT HELD IN LOS CABOS, MEXICO

The 7th G20 summit took place on 18,19 June 2012.Mexico chaired the summit. The summit took place in the city of Los Cabos in Mexico. It is a twenty member brigade, the summit includes countries, South Africa, Canada, India, Mexico, United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, European Union, France,  Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia. The objectives and highlights of the summit is as follows :

THE G 20 DECLARATION

  • The leaders of the world’s largest economies will help in boosting growth and job creation to repair the wounded global economy because of the European financial crisis.

  • The statement also included the importance of easing the  Spanish Crisis.

  • The Summit declaration also included investment in infrastructure in the developing countries, this decision would help in achieving global growth  which was hauled due to thefalling state of the world economy and the Eurozone crisis.

  • All the Euro members of the G 20 will indulge in necessary policy measures to not only  safe guard the integrity, but also stabilize the whole area. This would be done only by breaking the feedback loop between the sovereigns and the banks.

  • The summit has also recognized the progress made by China in market determined exchanged rates.

  • The summit has singled out Saudi Arabia, by bringing in a Saudi pledge to keep the oil prices at bay and low. This is a step to ensure global economic well being.

  • European Commission  President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy asked markets to  focus on a European summit at the end of the month. It would eventually help the continent move deeper and help the economic and political integration to match its single currency.

  • The 14-page statement emphasized the need for growth because this is the only way they will solve the debt problem of the Eurozone.

  • The non-European members of the G20 have sent a message to Europe that it has to find a way that the Eurozone’s finances can be supervised by a triumvirate comprising the European Central Bank, the IMF and the EU.

International Events

INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION

  • Owing to the debt loaded 17 nation Euro zone, India on 19 June 2012 announced a $10 Billion contribution to the already existing IMF’s $430 Billion financial money.

  • The announcement was made by Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, India in the Seventh Summit, G 20 , Mexico.

  • The amount was contributed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the bailout fund, that would help them ease off a little burden from the debt scenario.

SEVENTH G 20 AND G 20’S HISTORY

  1. The seventh G 20 take took place in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos. The seventh summit was headed by Mexico’s President, Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa.

  2. The G 20 comprises the heads of the State or the Government.

  3. The G 20 was first proposed by former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin.

  4. The next G20 Summit is scheduled in 2013 with Russia as the new chair.

The Group of Twenty, or G20, is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and
financial agenda. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. The G20 includes 19 country members and the European Union, which together represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population. The G 20 started in the year 1999, but it has been regular only since 2008.

HOSNI MUBARAK SERVED WITH LIFE TERM

An Egyptian court awarded former President Hosni Mubarak with life imprisonment on 2 June 2012. The former autocrat was convicted given his involvement in the murder of protesters during the uprising which dethroned him in 2011. Mubarak’s former interior minister Habib al-Adly was also awarded with the life sentence. The court, however, acquitted Mubarak’s son Alaa and Gamal, due to the expiry of a statute of limitations. They were being prosecuted in a case of corruption. Mubarak was also acquitted in one of the corruption cases. The trial against Mubarak began in August 2011. Mubarak was the only autocrat who was dethroned from his post during the Arab Spring. The former president along with former interior minister Habib al- Adly and six others were charged with the killing of nearly 850 people during the 18-day Egyptian
uprising in early 2011. Hosni Mubarak served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. Before being escalated to the post of president he also served as the deputy of President Anwar El Sadat from 1975 to 1981. Following the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat in 1981 Mubarak became the President of Egypt and remained on the position for nearly 30 years, making him the longest serving president of Egypt.

FATOU BENSOUDA APPOINTED CHIEF PROSECUTOR OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda was sworn in on 15 June 2012 as the International Criminal Court’s new chief prosecutor. Bensouda was elected at the latest session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) in December 2011 for a nine-year term. Born on 31 January 1961 in Gambia, Bensouda is the first woman and the first African to be appointed as the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which is investigating 15 cases in seven countries, all of them African. She also served as a Deputy Prosecutor in charge of the Prosecutions Division of the ICC since 2004. Bensouda is the recipient of the ICJ International Jurists Award (2009), which was conferred on her by President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Bensouda was given this award for her contributions to criminal law both at the national and International level.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent international organisation, which has been set up to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes. The Court is is governed by the Rome
Statute. The Rome statute was adopted on 17 July 1998 by120 States for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002 after ratification by 60 countries. Separate from the United Nations system it is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to prosecute the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The court has its permanant seating at The Hague in the Netherlands. The Court’s expenses are funded primarily by its 120 member States. It also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

SCO SUMMIT 2012 CONCLUDED IN BEIJING

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 2012 concluded in Beijing on 7 June 2012, with member states agreeing to further cooperation in a variety of fields. Chinese President Hu Jin Tao, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Turkmenistan President  Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai wer among the top leaders who attended the summit. Leaders and officials from the four SCO observer countries of Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India were also present at the summit. Leaders across the participating nations held a broader discussion over the issues like Afghanistan crisis and the Iranian nuclear programme. The member states of the SCO adopted 10 agreements on the concluding day of the summit. The agreement includes the Declaration on Building a Region with Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, the Strategic Plan for the Medium-Term Development of the SCO, and the SCO Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability. The SCO also decided to grant Afghanistan observer status and accept Turkey as a dialogue partner. Chinese President Hu Jintao offered a 10 billion U.S. dollars loan to the SCO which will be used be  used to promote the development of SCO members. The SCO, an intergovernmental mutual security organization, was founded in Shanghai on 15 June 2001. The group has six full time members at present namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Central Asian nation Kyrgyzstan will host the 2013 summit of SCO.

BOEING MD83 AIRCRAFT CRASHED IN NIGERIA

A boeing MD83 aircraft crashed in Lagos, the largest Nigerian city on 3 June 2012. All 153 people on board were killed in the worst air disaster of Nigeria in nearly past two decades. The flight was traveling from Nigeria’s central capital of Abuja to Lagos in the nation’s southwest. Scores others were killed and injured on the ground where the plane was crashed. President Goodluck Jonathan  later declared three days of national
mourning in Nigeria. The recent crash is the worst for Nigeria since September 1992, when a military transport plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Lagos, killing nearly 163 army soldiers, relatives and crew members on board. Nigeria, home to more than 160 million people, is Africa’s most populous nation. The oil-rich nation has long been struggling with widespread state-sponsored corruption and malpractices. Barring past twenty years, the nation has time and again suffered from horrible aviation disasters. In August 2010, the U.S. had given Nigeria the Federal Aviation Administration’s Category 1 status, its top safety rating, which permits the Nigerian’s airliners to have a direct flight to the U.S.

CHINA AND BHUTAN MET TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES

Chinese Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao and his Bhutanese counterpart Jigmi Y Thinley had a meet at Rio de Janeiro on 21 June 2012. The talks were on the sidelines of the Rio plus twenty summit. Both the parties expressed desire to establish diplomatic relations between each other. The meeting between both the Prime Ministers was for the first time. Bhutan has had a strained relation with China sourced in a boundary feud over which both the countries have held nineteen round of talks in the past. Though neighbours for a while, both the countries have not yet established diplomatic relations as Bhutan, a strongly ally of India, remained aloof after China took control of Tibet, which formed borders with Bhutan.

INDIAN CONNECTION

Apparently, any settlement in the Bhutan-China border talk is significant to India. Chumbi Valley, a vital tri-junction between all three countries is almost five hundred km away from the Siliguri Corridor and connects India to the North East states and Nepal to Bhutan. The Valley is of ‘geo-strategic’ importance to China as it shares its borders with Sikkim and Tibet. Ideally, the development should have been a cause of concern for India, as Bhutan is India’s closest ally, but the development had come with India’s knowledge and approval. It is imperative to understand that India plays a pivotal role in alliance to Bhutan as they share diplomatic ties themselves, however India has nodded in affirmation and has not shown any issue for Bhutan and China’s diplomatic ties.

BACKGROUND

Both China and Bhutan share a four seventy kilometers long border. In the past, both the countries have held several rounds of dialogue to resolve their border dispute. The first agreement was signed in the year 1998 and the last round of border talks were held in Thimphu in January 2010.

THE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN AFGHANISTAN AND NORWAY

Afghanistan and Norway on 27 June 2012 finalized the draft of the strategic partnership agreement between the two countries. The two countries will sign the draft in September 2012. Norwegian forces are posted in Faryab province of northern Afghanistan. The strategic partnership agreement provides the long-term framework for the relationship between Afghanistan and the Norway after the withdrawal of forces. Afghanistan has already signed strategic partnership agreements with the US, Britain, India, Germany, France and Italy.

AL-QAIDA’S SECOND-IN-COMMAND ABU YAHYA AL-LIBI KILLED

A US drone strike in northwest Pakistan killed al-Qaida’s secondin- command Abu Yahya al-Libi on 5 June 2012. The killing of al-Libi is  the most significant victory for the US forces since the death of Osama bin Laden. The Libyan-born al-Libi was considered charismatic leader with religious credentials who was helping preside over the transformation of a secretive group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan into a global movement. Earlier  the US had captured al-Libi a decade ago but he managed to flee from the US’ captivity in 2005 in an embarrassing security breach. He was a regular in Al Qaeda videos in which he talked about the lessons he learned while watching his captors, whom he described as cowardly, lost and alienated. Al- Libi was promoted to al-Qaida’s No. 2 spot after Ayman al-Zawahri replaced bin Laden as al-Qaida’s topmost leader. As al-Qaida’s no. 2, he was responsible for running the group’s day-to-day operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas and managed outreach to al-Qaida’s regional affiliates. He was influential and popular within al- Qaida given his scholarly
credentials, street cred from having escaped from Bagram, charisma and his easygoing, tribal speaking style.

EMERGENCY DECLARED IN WEST MYANMAR

Myanmar President Thein Sein declared emergency in West Myanmar on 10 June 2012. The government’s move came following a wave of sectarian violence between the Buddhists and Muslims in the past week which
left seven people dead and hundreds of properties ravaged in Rakhine state of west Myanmar. Conflict in troubled Rakhine state blazed after a Buddhist woman was killed in May 2012, followed by an attack on a bus  carrying Muslims. The clashes began on 4 June 2012 when a violent mob attacked a bus in Taungup, Rakhine province, apparently mistakenly believing some of the passengers were responsible for the earlier rape
and murder of a Buddhist woman. Rakhine state is named after the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist community, which is in the majority in the state. The state also has a sizeable Muslim population, including the Rohingya minority.
The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group and are considered to be the refugees who have illegally entered Myanmar from neighboring Bangladesh. The state emergency imposed in the western state can upset the country’s
initiatives taken in the direction of democracy. The former military ruled country has been trudging the path of political reforms over the past two years.  The process of political  reforms accelerated in Myanmar after Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity and Development Party stormed to the power in March 2011after its massive victory in the election held in the country after 20 years. Despite largely being controlled by the military, the Thein Sein’s
government showcased enough willingness to introduce real political reforms in the country. In a reconciliatory move the government had released hundreds of prisoners from the jail in January 2012. The move was followed by a by-elections in the state in April 2012, which witnessed pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party NLD for the first time since 1990 capturing 43 out of 45 seats.

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