International Polity - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Who has been relected president of Iran for the second time?
- Published on 22 May 17

a. Mahmoud Ahmadnijad
b. Hasan Rouhani
c. Ayatollah Khomeni
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Hasan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected as the President of Iran.

He was elected as president for his first term in 2013.

He won 2013 elections by pledging to end Iran’s isolation and improve civil rights at home.

Rouhani was born in Semnan province on November 12, 1948.

He is a graduate of University of Tehran and did his PhD from Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University.

The 68 year old Rouhani is a lawyer, academic and a former diplomat.

Rouhani has won his second term by presenting himself as the candidate of change and social freedoms that ended many sanctions and a 13 year standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.

He has held various key positions like the key defence portfolios during the 1980 -88 Iran-Iraq war. He had spent 16 years as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which is Iran’s top security post.

Rouhani consistently worked to rebuild Irans’ relations with the West.

He also became the first Iranian leader to speak with the President of United States when Barack Obama phoned in September 2013.

Iran: Know More

  • Capital: Tehran
  • Currency: Iranian rial
  • President: Hassan Rouhani
  • Supreme leader: Ali Khamenei

2)   Who is France's next PM in 2017-2018?
- Published on 16 May 17

a. Philippe Edouard
b. Edouard Philippe
c. Emamanuel Macron
d. Manuel Valls
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Edouard Philippe

French President Emmanuel Macron has picked centre-right mayor of the northern port city of Le Harve, Edouard Philippe (46), as his Prime Minister.

The appointment of Philippe, a moderate from France’s mainstream right-wing party Les Republicains, is seen as a strategic move that could secure the support Macron needs to win a majority in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.

This is the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a President has appointed someone from outside his own party without being explicitly required to do so by a parliamentary vote.

Macron, who was Economy Minister in the Socialist government during 2014-16, already enjoys considerable support among former Socialists, including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, against whom La Republique en Marche (REM),

Macron’s movement, is not fielding a candidate in the assembly elections. Additionally, all current MPs whom the REM has so far given tickets to are drawn from the Socialist party.

The French Prime Minister is required to have the support of the majority of MPs in its National Assembly and Philippe’s appointment is being seen as the President reaching out to the right – a move that could help his party push reforms through Parliament.

Macron was elected on a platform that promised reforms to labour and social security laws, training for workers, and relaunching the European Union.

Edouard Philippe: Know More

  • Trained as a lawyer, Mr. Philippe has worked in the private sector, including for French nuclear giant Areva and an American law firm.
  • Philippe’s early political leanings were with the Socialist Party, but later he came to be associated with former President Jacques Chirac and former centre-right Prime Minister Alain Juppe’s Union for a Popular Movement.
  • Juppe, also a presidential hopeful, lost the Les Republicains primaries in 2016.

3)   Who is the fourth PM of Bahamas since the time of its independence?
- Published on 16 May 17

a. Hubert Minnis
b. Lynden Pindling
c. Perry Christie
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis was on 11th May sworn in as the fourth Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas since the country gained political independence from Britain in 1973.

Minnis, a medical doctor and former minister of health was sworn into office late Thursday at Government House by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.

Hubert Minnis pledged, on behalf of his colleagues, their commitment to serve with integrity as Her Majesty’s Bahamas Government.

He added that he looked forward to the “most cordial relations” with her office in the service of the nation.

On May 10, Minnis led his Free National Movement (FNM) party in a landslide victory. The FNM was able to pull off a stunning defeat securing 34 of 39 constituencies.

Bahamas: Know More

  • Coral based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Capital: Nassau
  • Dialing code: +1
  • Currency: Bahamian dollar
  • Recognised regional languages: Bahamian Creole

4)   Who has won the South Korea presidential election?
- Published on 11 May 17

a. Park Guen-hye
b. Moon Jae-in
c. Moon Guen-hye
d. Park Jae-in
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Moon Jae-in

Moon Jae-in has been declared winner in South Korea’s presidential election by that country’s National Election Commission.

Moon, the Democratic Party’s candidate has won with 41.08% of votes. Moon will replace the ousted President Park Geun-hye, who was ejected from office in March after a corruption scandal for which she’s awaiting trial.

Moon narrowly lost to Park in 2012 election.

Park was South Korea’s first female president. She has been impeached in a corruption scandal.

Moon is a 64 year old former human rights lawyer and a liberal who favours a more open policy toward North Korea.

Unlike predecessors, Moon favours engagement with North Korea and has challenged the deployment of US missile defence system in South Korea.

Moon is a staunch proponent of the “Sunshine Policy”, which aimed to improve relations between the two Koreas from 1998 to 2008.

Moon Jae-in: Know More

  • A son of refugees who fled North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, in 1975, Moon was jailed for staging anti-government protests.
  • Later, he became a human rights lawyer and defended the rights of poor labourers and student activists. In 1972, Moon became a part of a pro-democracy movement to topple the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee.
  • Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea for 18 years.
  • He was the father of recently ousted President Park Geun-hye.

5)   Which FBI director led the bureau against the Trump administration for alleged interference of Russia in the US polls?
- Published on 10 May 17

a. Michael Comey
b. Anthony Comey
c. John Comey
d. James Comey
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: James Comey

President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey who was leading the investigation into whether his election campaign had ties to Russia’s alleged interference in the US polls.

In a letter, Mr. Trump told Comey that he was no longer effectively able to lead the bureau and it was necessary to restore public trust and confidence in it.

The shocking move comes days after Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and a possible collusion between the country and Trump’s campaign.

In the letter, Trump acknowledged that Comey had informed him on three separate occasions that he was not under investigation.

The White House said the search for a new FBI director would begin immediately.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump mentioned the FBI was one of America’s most cherished and respected institutions and the dismissal will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.

Comey had courted controversy during the 2016 presidential polls when he revealed a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use, which the Democrat claimed had hurt her chances of becoming president.

FBI: Know More

  • Formed: July 26, 1908; 108 years ago as the Bureau of Investigation
  • Jurisdiction: U.S. Government
  • Headquarters: J. Edgar Hoover Building Northwest, Washington, D.C., U.S.
  • Motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity
  • Employees: 35,104 (as on October 31, 2014)
  • Annual budget: 8.3 billion USD (FY 2014)

6)   Who has become France’s youngest president?
- Published on 08 May 17

a. Nikolas Sarkozy
b. Emmanuel Macron
c. Francois Hollande
d. Marine Le Pen
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron has been a skilled student, a champion of France’s tech startup movement, an investment banker and economy minister.

But the man who will become France’s youngest president has never held elected office.

After a campaign based on promises to revive the country through pro-business and pro-European policies, the 39-year-old centrist independent defeated far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and her protectionist, anti-immigration party.

He quit his job as a banker at Rothschild to become Socialist President Francois Hollande’s economic adviser, working for two years by Hollande’s side at the presidential palace.

Then as economy minister in Hollande’s government from 2014 to 2016, he promoted a package of measures, notably allowing more stores to open on Sundays and evenings and opening up regulated sectors of the economy.

In 2016, Macron launched his own political movement, En Marche, or In Motion, and quit the Socialist government.

He promised to shake up the political landscape by appointing a government that includes new figures from business and civil society.

His next challenge will be to get a parliamentary majority in an election next month to make major changes _ with no mainstream party to support him.

The strong advocate of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit has called for France to focus on getting benefits from globalization rather than the protectionist policies advocated by the far right.

In his political rallies, he encouraged supporters to wave both the French tricolour and the European Union flags.

Macron had an unexpected test of his political skills following the first round of the vote during what became known as ``the battle of Whirlpool,'' when Le Pen upstaged him at a Whirlpool factory in Amiens that is threatened with closure.

In a country shaken by recent terror attacks, he pledged to boost the police and military as well as the intelligence services and to put pressure on internet giants to better monitor extremism online.

To improve Europe’s security, he wants the EU to deploy some 5,000 European border guards to the external borders of the bloc’s passport-free travel zone.

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron resoundingly won France’s landmark presidential election, first estimates showed on Sunday, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.

The victory caps an extraordinary rise for the 39-year-old former investment banker, who will become the country’s youngest-ever leader.

Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65.5 per cent and 66.1 per cent of ballots ahead of Le Pen on between 33.9 per cent and 34.5 per cent.

Macron is now poised to become one of Europe’s most powerful leaders, bringing with him a hugely ambitious agenda of political and economic reform for France and the European Union.

The result will resonate worldwide and particularly in Brussels and Berlin where leaders will breathe a sigh of relief that Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-globalisation programme has been defeated.

After Britain’s vote last year to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S., the French election had been widely watched as a test of how high a tide of right-wing nationalism would rise.

Le Pen, 48, had portrayed the ballot as a contest between Macron and the “globalists” - in favour of open trade, immigration and shared sovereignty - and her “patriotic” vision of strong borders and national identities.

7)   Which nation’s lawmakers have approved a package of security measures to prevent extremist attacks in April 2017?
- Published on 02 May 17

a. Germany
b. Italy
c. Spain
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Germany

The lawmakers of Germany on 27 April 2017 approved a package of security measures that aims at preventing extremist attacks.

In this regard the lawmakers also partially banned the full-face burqa, the Islamic veil.

The new law on facial coverings falls short of a total ban in public places demanded by right-wing parties, like that in effect in neighbouring France since 2011.

The prohibition will apply to public servants - including election officials, military and judicial staff - performing their duties.

People will also be required to remove facial coverings in order to match them with their identity papers.

It talks about the use of electronic ankle bracelets, if approved by a judge, for people deemed a security threat, in federal police cases–like known Islamic radicals considered potentially violent by security services.

Under another new measure, Germany will implement EU rules on the exchange of flight passenger data to counter terrorism and serious crime.

Physical attacks on police, emergency services and military personnel on duty will in future be punished more severely, with up to five years’ jail.

8)   What does THAAD stand for, in the context of US military?
- Published on 27 Apr 17

a. Thermo Nuclear High Altitude Area Defence
b. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence
c. Torque High Altitude Area Defence
d. Transitional High Altitude Area Defence
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Terminal High Altitude Area Defence

The US military has moved parts of THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System to South Korea on 26th April 2017.

The earlier-than-expected steps to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system was also denounced by North Korea even as South Korea's presidential election are on May 9, 2017.

South Korea's Defence Ministry indicated elements of THAAD were moved to the deployment site, on what had been a golf course, about 250 km south of the capital, Seoul.

The battery was expected to be operational by the end of the year, it said.

The United States and South Korea agreed in 2016 to deploy the THAAD to counter the threat of missile launches by North Korea. They say it is solely aimed at defending against North Korea.

But China says the system's advanced radar can penetrate deep into its territory and undermine its security, while it will do little to deter the North, and is adamant in its opposition.

China is North Korea's sole major ally and is seen as crucial to US-led efforts to rein in North Korea.

The United States began moving the first elements of the system to South Korea in March after the North tested four ballistic missiles.

South Korea has accused China of discriminating against some South Korean companies operating in China because of the deployment.

The United States and North Korea have been stepping up warnings to each other in recent weeks over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles in defiance of UN resolutions.

North Korea says it needs the weapons to defend itself and has vowed to strike the United States and its Asian allies at the first sign of any attack on it.

The United States is sending the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to waters off the Korean peninsula, where it will join the USS Michigan, a nuclear submarine that docked in South Korea.

South Korea's navy has said it will hold drills with the U.S. strike group.

Kim Jong-un had supervised the country's “largest-ever” live-fire drill to mark 25th April''s 85th founding anniversary of its military, with more than 300 large-calibre, self-propelled artillery pieces on its east coast.

9)   Which new united party is the fifth largest in Nepal Parliament?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. Rashtriya Janata Party
b. Rashtriya Jan Shakti Party
c. Rashitrya Lok Shakti Party
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rashtriya Janata Party

Five prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal have united to form a new united party named the Rashtriya Janata Party, which will be the fifth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament.

Interestingly the word “Madhes” has not been included in the new party’s name.

This announcement of unification has come ahead of elections to local government bodies scheduled on May 14.

The five parties that have united are Mahantha Thakur‘s Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Rajendra Mahato‘s Sadbhawana Party, Sharat Singh Bhandari‘s Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Mahendra Yadav‘s Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party and Rajkishor Yadav‘s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Ganatantrik.

It has been announced that leaders of the five parties will lead the Rashtriya Janata Party by rotation.

As per the provisions, most of the key constitutional posts have been reserved for only citizens by descent. Madhesi parties object to this criterion as huge numbers of Madhesis have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization.

This criteria makes them ineligible to hold the office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly etc.

Madhesis want representation in terms of proportion. The Nepali constitution has given equal representation on the basis of “geographical area”.

10)   Which country has announced sweeping changes to its citizenship laws, scrapping 457 visa schemes for foreign workers?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. Australia
b. New Zealand
c. UK
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Australia

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced sweeping changes to Australia’s citizenship laws, introducing tighter requirements for new applicants.

This is a move that follows the scrapping of the 457 visa schemes for foreign workers.

Under the new reforms, the applicants must be permanent residents for at least four years — three years longer than at present — and must be committed to embrace “Australian values.

Prospective citizens will have to pass a standalone English test that will focus heavily on respect for women and children, with possible questions about child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.

The test will have questions assessing an applicant’s understanding of and commitment to shared Australian values and responsibilities

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