International Polity - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Who is Bulgaria's new president w.e.f 19 Jan 2017?
- Published on 20 Jan 17

a. Rumen Radev
b. Bumen Radev
c. Rumen Radec
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rumen Radev

Explanation:
Bulgaria's new president, Rumen Radev, took his oath of office on 19th Jan 2017. He will take over the post from Rosen Plevneliev.

Radev is the country's fifth democratically elected president. He was sworn in at a ceremony in Parliament on 19th Jan 2017.

The swearing in ceremony also incorporated Vice-President Iliana Yotova.

53-year-old Radev is the former chief of the Bulgarian Air Force.

He defeated the ruling center-right party's candidate in a November election.

This triggered an early parliamentary vote to be held in the spring.

Radev indicated that he will work for improving social systems and the economy.

Bulgaria is a Balkan country of 7.2m.

It joined EU 10 years ago. The country is the poorest member of the 28 nation bloc.

Bulgaria's presidency is primarily ceremonial.

The head of state has no executive powers and all major policies must be approved by parliament.

But the popular election gives the post more influence and authority.

Radev's first task will be to appoint a caretaker government after Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's center-right coalition government resigned.

He also has to dissolve parliament and set a date for general elections.


2)   Who has been elected the new president of the European Parliament?
- Published on 19 Jan 17

a. Martin Schulz
b. Gianni Pitella
c. Silvio Berlusconi
d. Antonio Tajani
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Antonio Tajani

Explanation:
Italian conservative and former spokesperson for Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Antonio Tajani has been elected the new president.

63-year-old Tajani is a former EU commissioner as well.

He will head the European Parliament, taking over from Martin Schulz of Germany.

Tajani defeated fellow Italian Gianni Pitella for the post.

The European Parliament has the power to block/amend EU laws. It will have a final say on whether the Brexit deal will be approved with the UK.

Tajani secured 351 votes, Pitella, 282. The contest ran for its maximum 4 rounds.

European People's Party, under which Tajani fought, benefited from a coalition. The ALDE or parliament liberals were its ally, who hope to curb the influence of anti EU populists.

Pitella was a socialist.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt withdrew his candidacy, paving the way for Tajani's victory.

EPP candidate Tajani dedicated his win to those who succumbed in Italy earthquake and the victims of terrorists.

The Centre-Right now controls three major EU institutions. These are the EU Commission, Council and Parliament.

EPP is the biggest group in the parliament followed by the Socialists & Democrats group fielding Pitella. ALDE liberals are the 4th largest group.

Meanwhile, Martin Schulz is leaving the EU parliament to return to national politics in Germany.

The successor to him will have to sign off the deal for Britain's exit from the EU by late 2018-early 2019.

Know More About the European Parliament

  • European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of EU.
  • President: Antonio Tajani, EPP, since 17 January 2017
  • Vice Presidents Number: 14
  • Leader of largest political group: Manfred Weber, EPP
  • Leader of 2nd largest political group: Gianni Pittella, S&D


3)   UK unveiled the 12 point plan for implementing Brexit deal within how many years in phased manner?
- Published on 19 Jan 17

a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 2

Explanation:
United Kingdom unveiled her 12-point plan to leave European Union.

This is for implementing Brexit deal within two years in phased manner.

The priorities include:

  • Control over immigration;
  • Securing the rights of EU citizens in Britain;
  • Committing to retain workers’ rights;
  • Building a strong trading relationship with EU and rest of the world;
  • Removing Britain from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; and
  • Making Britain an attractive place for investors and students.
In June 2016 referendum, UK had voted to leave the EU (a single market and the customs union with the 28-nation economic bloc). The vote was by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%.


4)   British PM Theresa May on 17th Jan 2017 acknowledged for the first time that ____________
- Published on 18 Jan 17

a. UK Parliament would be able to vote on Brexit deal between EU and UK
b. UK Parliament would not be able to vote on Brexit deal between EU and UK
c. British apex court will deliberate on Brexit deal between EU and UK
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: UK Parliament would be able to vote on Brexit deal between EU and UK

Explanation:
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK will make a clean break from the European Union. It will leave its single market of some 500 million people.

Ms. May said on 17th Jan 2017 said that Britain must regain control of its laws and borders.

She called on the bloc to negotiate a free-trade agreement that will benefit both sides.

UK will seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

Ms. May also announced Britain’s Parliament will be able to vote on the final divorce deal reached between the U.K. and European Union.

She did not address what would happen should there be a vote against the agreement.

The British pound rallied as Ms. May focused on keeping Britain open to global trade.

Ms. May rejected both the “hard Brexit” label and “soft Brexit” but wants a new relationship in the interests of both Britain and the EU.

Britain is quitting the EU’s single market in goods and services in order to gain control over immigration.

Losing single-market access alarms many in Britain’s huge financial services sector.

Ms. May said she would invoke Article 50 of the EU’s key treat by March 31. This will formally begin a two-year process of negotiating Britain’s departure.


5)   Ecuador is set to chair the world's largest organisation of developing states called __________
- Published on 16 Jan 17

a. G-24
b. G-4
c. G-8
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
The country will chair at the head of the world’s largest organization of developing states to tackle tax havens and the corruption they breed.

President of Ecuador Rafael Correa assume the chairmanship of the Group of 77.

The charge was summed in New York on 13th Jan 2017. G-77 is the the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries at the UN.

This marks chairmanship for the first time in the Andean nation's history.

G-77's mission is to promote South-South cooperation and enhance joint negotiating capacity within the UN system.

Ecuador will work to ensure that tax havens be banned to avoid corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion."

Correa is leading the campaign against corporate and individual tax fraud by example.

He has launched a national referendum in Ecuador. In this, citizens will vote in February on a proposed ban on public servants or elected officials keeping money in offshore tax havens.

Correa launched national and international campaigns against tax avoidance after the Panama Papers leaks.

He wants to use Ecuador’s one-year term as head of the coalition of 134 nations from the Global South to demonstrate that at the UN, the General Assembly should make the most important decisions.

Ecuador: Know More

  • Capital: Quito
  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • President: Rafael Correa
  • Official language: Spanish


6)   Who has been appointed a White House Senior Advisor on 9th Jan 2016 despite the anti nepotism law?
- Published on 10 Jan 17

a. Jared Kushner
b. Ivanka Trump
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Jared Kushner

Explanation:
President elect Donald Trump appointed his influential son-in-law Jared Kushner as a White House senior adviser on 9th Jan 2017.

This puts estate executive Kushner in position to exert broad sway over both domestic and foreign policy.

It will influence particularly Middle East issues and trade negotiations.

Kushner is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka. She will not be taking a formal White House position.

Mr. Kushner’s own eligibility for the White House could be challenged, given a 1967 law meant to bar government officials from hiring relatives.

Mr. Kushner will resign as CEO of his family’s real estate company and as publisher of the New York Observer.

The anti-nepotism law had appeared to be the main obstacle to Mr. Kushner joining the White House.

Know More About Jared Kushner

  • Born: January 10, 1981 (age 35),
  • Place of Birth: Livingston, New Jersey, United States
  • Spouse: Ivanka Trump (since 2009)
  • Education: Harvard University (2003), Frisch School.


7)   Theresa May government has appointed whom as Britain's new EU ambassador?
- Published on 06 Jan 17

a. Sir Ivan Rogers
b. Sir Tim Barrow
c. Nigel Farage
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sir Tim Barrow

Explanation:
Theresa May government has appointed a new ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow who faced down Vladimir Putin and is likely to move forward in Brussels.

Barrow has been appointed as Britain's new EU ambassador after a life-long career in the foreign office which saw him serve in senior roles twice before for Brussels.

He also held the post of Britain's ambassador to Moscow between 2011 and 2015; this marks one of the most testing periods in relations between the two nations.

Appointment of Sir Tim is in contrast to Sir Ivan Rogers who was termed a pessimist as opposed to Sir Tim who is a “pragmatic problem solver,” according to Downing Street ministers.

Sir Tim has also served as a rep to the EU Security Committee and as Ambassador to the Western European Union.

He was appointed political DG at the foreign office in March 2016 after leaving his role in Moscow. Rogers had a negative view of Brexit and possibly could not lead the negotiations after the PM triggers A50.

Crucial Dates in the Brexit Timeline

  • January 2017: SC to deliver verdict on whether May can trigger A50 using a royal prerogative rather than a Parliament Act.
  • March 31, 2017: Deadline set for invoking A50 by notifying the EC of Britain's intention to leave the EU.
  • Sept 30, 2018: EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier to wrap up Britain's exit from the Union.
  • March 31, 2019: Theresa May Govt to wrap up Brexit negotiations.
  • May 2019: Britain formally exits EU following ratification of Brexit by all member states.


8)   Who has won the Haiti presidential elections 2016?
- Published on 05 Jan 17

a. Jovenel Moise
b. Fanmi Lavalas
c. Nicole Simeon
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jovenel Moise

Explanation:
Jovenel Moise has won the Haiti November 20th Presidential election, ending the protracted electoral paralysis that had gripped Caribbean country's politics for a year and more.

Haiti provisional electoral council on 3rd Jan 2016 indicated Moise was the majority winner with 55.6 percent of the votes, turnout being low at 21 percent.

Moise, a previously little known businessman ran on behalf of the Tet Kale party of former president Michel Martelly who ended term without an elected successor.

But Moise's major challengers - Jude Celestin, Jean-Charles Moise and Maryse Narcisse - also contested the preliminary results of the latest elections.

The final official results gave runner-up Celestin 19.57 percent, Jean-Charles Moise 11.04 percent and Narcisse 9.01 percent. Moise lacks popular support with just 21 percent of voters participating in the electoral process.

48-year-old Moise runs a banana export company; Setting it as a model for rural development, on the campaign trial he popularised himself as Banana Man.

He is to be sworn in on Feb 7, 2017 taking over from interim president Jocelerme Privert who came to power in 2016. An October 2015 vote saw Moise win but an independent commission found massive fraud. Moise came first, defeating 26 other candidates.

Moise's closest rival had 19.5 percent of the votes, according to council spokesperson Nicole Simeon. Supporters of other leading candidates marched in the capital's streets in protest of the electoral council's decision.

Fanmi Lavalas party supporters called for the placement of their candidate as president instead, while supporters of left-wing candidate Jean-Charles Moise also led protests after initial results were released in October, 2015.

Know More About Haiti

  • Capital: Port-au-Prince
  • Currency: Haitian gourde
  • Population: 10.32 million (2013) World Bank
  • Official languages: French, Haitian Creole French
  • Struggling to rebuild after hurricane in 2010, the country suffered major losses since.
  • More than 60 percent of people living in Haiti survive with less than two dollars per day.
  • Haiti has a debt of more than $2 billion.
  • Growth is expected to be just one percent in 2017, due to a lack of public and private investment.
  • In early October, Hurricane Matthew left damage of more than $2 billion in the south of the country.


9)   Who has been re-elected as House of Representatives speaker of the United States?
- Published on 05 Jan 17

a. Nancy Pelosi
b. Paul Ryan
c. Frederick Muhlenberg
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Paul Ryan

Explanation:
US lawmakers voted to retain congressman Paul Ryan as speaker of the House of Representatives. He will be leading the 115th Congress before president elect Donald Trump's inauguration on 20th Jan 2017.

US House members voted 239 to 189 to re-elect Ryan to the key post over top Democrat and former speaker Nancy Pelosi.

5 other lawmakers voted for others. As speaker of the House, Ryan will lead the 2 year incoming session of the house. He had opposed Donald Trump during the Presidential race and even had refused to campaign with the him ahead of the November 2016 election.

Know More About the US Speaker's Office

  • Type: Presiding officer of one chamber in a bicameral legislature
  • Residence: Washington, D.C.
  • Seat: United States Capitol, District of Columbia, U.S.
  • Nominator: Those qualified to be a representative; in practice member of the house and party leadership.
  • Appointer: U.S. House of Representatives
  • Elected by the House, sworn in by the Dean
  • Term length: At the House's pleasure; elected at the start of each session, and upon a vacancy
  • Constituting instrument: U.S. Constitution
  • Formation: March 4, 1789
  • First holder: Frederick Muhlenberg (April 1, 1789)
  • Succession: Second in the Presidential Line of Succession
  • Website: Speaker.go


10)   Donald Trump named whom as his chief trade negotiator on 3rd Jan 2016?
- Published on 05 Jan 17

a. Robert Lighthizer
b. Michael Cantor
c. William Matson Roth
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Robert Lighthizer

Explanation:
President elect of the United States, Donald Trump named prominent trade attorney Robert Lighthizer as his chief trade negotiator. He will be in charge of negotiating deals and engaging in trade relationships with other countries.

Before this, Robert Lighthizer had served as the Deputy United States Trade Representative under the Ronald Regan administration and is known for harsh critic of China’s trade practices.

He has extensive experience in striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of the US. Lighthizer has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans.

During his stint in the Regan Administration, he played a major role in developing trade policy and negotiating roughly two dozen bilateral international agreements on a variety of topics from grains to steel.

About the Office of the US Trade Representatives

  • Formed: 1962
  • Preceding agency: Office of the Special Trade Representative
  • Headquarters: Winder Building 600 17th St. NW Washington, D.C.
  • Employees: 200
  • Website: www.ustr.gov
  • Parent agency: Executive Office of the President of the United States

  • Current Trade Rep executives Under Obama Administration

  • Michael Froman, US Trade Representative
  • Robert Holleyman, Deputy US Trade Representative
  • Michael Punke, Deputy US Trade Representative (Geneva)


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