International Polity - Current Affairs for May, 2016

International Polity Current Affairs for May, 2016

Month wise coverage of International Polity Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

Preparing International Polity Current Affairs May, 2016

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  • Month & Year   
▼ Argentina’s dictator sentenced to death for human rights crimes   [05-30-16]

Argentina's last dictator and 14 other former military officials were sentenced to prison for human rights crimes, marking the first time a court has ruled that Operation Condor was a criminal conspiracy to kidnap and forcibly disappear people across international borders.

  • The covert operation was launched in the 1970s by six South American dictatorships that used their secret police networks in a coordinated effort to track down their opponents abroad and eliminate them.
  • Many leftist dissidents had sought refuge in neighbouring countries and elsewhere.
  • The sentences are seen as a milestone because they mark the first time a court has proved that Operation Condor was an international criminal conspiracy carried out by the US-backed regimes in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

▼ Jordan’s King Abdullah dissolves parliament   [05-30-16]

Jordan’s King Abdullah appointed veteran politician Hani Mulqi as caretaker prime minister after dissolving parliament as its four-year term nears its end, and charged him with organising new elections by October.

  • The king accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour before appointing Mulqi by royal decree.
  • Mulki has held senior government posts in successive administrations. Under the constitutional rules the election must be held within four months.
  • Jordan traditionally votes according to tribal and family allegiances but parliament amended the electoral laws in March in a move government sources and political analysts say will lead to more candidates from political parties vying for votes.

▼ Obama becomes first US President to visit Hiroshima memorial   [05-30-16]

US President Barack Obama indicated that the Hiroshima bombing demonstrates “that makind possessed the means to destroy itself.” He laid a wreath and prayed before the arched monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

  • Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, 1945
  • A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later and killed 70,000 people
  • Obama also won the Nobel Peace Prize

▼ Mullah Haibattullah Akhundzada selected as new Taliban leader   [05-26-16]

The choice of Akhundzada as the Taliban leader was believed to have taken place in a meeting at Pakistan

  • Afghan Taliban confirmed former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in the past week and they have appointed a successor
  • Pakistani authorities have given shelter to Taliban leaders over the Afghan border
  • The insurgents have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government since the year 2001
  • Their own Islamist regime was overthrown by a US invasion

▼ US lifts embargo on Vietnam   [05-25-16]

President Barack Obama has announced the US is lifting its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam.

  • The US is trying to bolster its relationship with its Pacific allies, as China asserts territorial claims. - Vietnam is one of several countries in the region involved in maritime disputes with China. The US insists on the right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
  • In 2014, a row over a Chinese oil rig near the Paracel islands led to clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels and anti-China riots in Vietnam.
  • The Vietnam War ended in April 1975 with the fall of Saigon - now called Ho Chi Minh City - after the United States withdrew combat forces and the North Vietnamese launched a massive offensive to reunite their homeland under communism.

▼ Maldives former president given refugee status by the UK   [05-24-16]

Former Maldives President Mohamad Nasheed, who was allowed to travel to London to seek medical treatment by the government of President Abdulla Yameen in January 2016, has been granted refugee status by the United Kingdom on 23rd May, 2016.

  • The former President – the first democratically elected head of state of the troubled island nation – was convicted and jailed in the Maldives in 2012 after a trial that attracted international criticism, including from the United Nations Group on Arbitrary Detention.

▼ Tsai Ing wen sworn in as new president of Taiwan   [05-23-16]

Tsai Ing wen has been sworn in as the new president of Taiwan, becoming its first female leader and calling for positive dialogue with Beijing. Tsai is an unassuming and determined leader leading the DPP to a landslide win in January elections.

  • DPP has leaned towards independence from China which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.
  • Tsai was sworn in before being presented with a official seal
  • Beijing is keen to be an ally with Taiwan currently
  • Tsai’s election win for the second ever for the DPP- Kuomintang which has been in power for 70 years

▼ Turkey appoints B Yildirim as PM   [05-20-16]

Turkey's governing party on May 19 formally tapped Binali Yildirim as its candidate to lead the party and become the country's next premier.

  • The spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Omer Celik, made the announcement, saying the lawmaker from Izmir was chosen "with great consensus".
  • Yildirim is Turkey's minister of transport, maritime and communication as well as a founding member of the AKP.
  • The shake-up comes after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced May 4 he was stepping down due to differences with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

▼ Indian journalist elected Loughton Deputy Mayor   [05-20-16]

An Indian journalist has been unanimously elected Deputy mayor of Loughton town in the UK as announced on May 19th.

  • Councillor Carol Davis, the newly-elected mayor presented the Deputy Mayor’s Badge to Mr. Philip Abraham. The Deputy Mayor normally goes on to become the Mayor for the following year.
  • Mr. Abraham, a journalist from Kerala, had in 2012 won the election to the Loughton Town Council. Loughton is a vibrant town in Essex.

▼ Afghanistan signs draft agreement with Hezb-e-Islami militant group   [05-20-16]

Afghanistan signed a draft agreement on May 18 with the Hezb-e-Islami militant group in a move the government hopes could lead to a full peace accord with one of the most notorious warlords in the insurgency.

  • Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a veteran of decades of Afghan war and rights groups have accused his group of widespread abuses, particularly during civil war in the early 1990s, when he briefly served as prime minister.
  • The U.S. has also linked the group to al-Qaeda and the Taliban and put Hekmatyar on its designated terrorist list.

▼ JASTA Act passed by US Senate   [05-18-16]

The US Senate passed legislation on 17th May that would allow victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages from Saudi Arabia, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.

  • The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks, strongly object to the bill and have threatened to sell up to $750 billion in US securities and other American assets in retaliation if it becomes law.
  • The " Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act ," or JASTA , passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote. It must next be taken up by the US House of Representatives, where no vote has yet been scheduled.

▼ North Korea appoints new FM   [05-18-16]

N. Korea has appointed as foreign minister its negotiator at failed international talks aimed at getting it to disarm, according to a North Korean diplomatic note to Britain.Ri Yong Ho, 59, replaces Ri Su Yong, who has been one of the highest-profile officials of a country whose current leader, Kim Jong Un, has not travelled abroad since taking power following the death of his father in 2011.

  • Ri Yong Ho, most recently vice foreign minister, represented North Korea at six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, which fell apart after their last round in 2008.
  • China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States were the other parties to the talks.

▼ Kenyan government to close Dadaab refugee camp   [05-16-16]

Kenyan Government on May 11, 2016 announced it will close Daddab refugee camp which is home to 3300000 Somali refugees and is often called the world’s largest camp.

  • National Security was cited as a reason for the decision
  • Government also said that the camp established in 1990s to accommodate Somalis fleeing civil war has become a safe haven for terrorists.
  • Since 2016, Dadaab was the latest refugee camp, with others like Hagadera coming a close second
  • Kambioos is the smallest camp with close to 20,000 refugees.

▼ BBC to be regulated by Ofcom   [05-13-16]

Britain’s government proposed major changes to how the BBC is run to keep it “at the very heart of British life’, watering down more radical plans that had raised fears for the broadcaster’s future.

  • Unveiling the proposals in Parliament, media secretary John Whittingdale said the public broadcaster should not simply compete for ratings with its domestic commercial rivals.
  • Under the plans, the British Broadcasting Corporation will be regulated by an external organisation, the independent media agency for monitoring,Ofcom for the first time in its 90-year history.
  • It would also have a new board to run day-to-day matters, although the BBC would name at least half the 14 members and the government no more than six.

▼ MEA sets up new division States Division   [05-12-16]

Ministry of External Affairs has set up a new division – “States Division” - in the Ministry to coordinate with States and Union Territories for further facilitation of their efforts to promote their exports and tourism and attract more overseas investments and expertise. The Division is headed by a Joint Secretary, assisted by two Deputy Secretary level officers and supported by a section.

▼ Social Fridge adopted by Argentina    [05-12-16]

Argentina adopting it to feed the needy ones who are facing the hardship due to increase in job cuts and inflation in the country.

  • The genesis of ‘social fridge’ or ‘solidarity fridge’ lies in the recent economic crisis of Europe during which countries like Spain and Germany saw the mushrooming of such fridges.
  • It is called so because people leave food in outdoor "social fridges" for those who need it. The fridges typically stand on the sidewalk outside restaurants.
  • As of now some 57 “social fridges” are operating in Argentina.

▼ Mossack Fonseca threatens to sue ICIJ   [05-12-16]

Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca at the centre of leaked documents detailing offshore financial dealings said it will take legal action against an international consortium of journalists. The firm said it had asked the ICIJ to stop publishing information from documents obtained through alleged computer hack.

  • The consortium published information about close to 200,000 offshore entities in a searchable database implying all those mentioned need not have violated laws.
  • The firm said the data was obtained illegally and full of errors.

▼ Geraldine Roman wins Philippine elections   [05-11-16]

Geraldine Roman on May 10th has become the first transgender politician to win a congressional seat in the predominantly Catholic Philippines. After her victory in Monday's election, Roman, 49, is being seen by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as a source of hope in a country where Church influence means divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage are banned.

▼ Acting speaker of lower house of Brazil’s congress annuals last month vote on impeachment   [05-11-16]

Acting speaker of the lower house of Brazil’s congress annulled the previous month’s vote on impeachment, delaying the process against President Dilma Rousseff

  • Senate vote on whether to accept the impeachment process has been scheduled but with the latest development, the matter goes back to the Chamber of Deputies
  • Reasoning for the decision was not clear- decision is a victory for Rousseff who faced suspension

▼ Anti crime candidate Rodrigo Duterte wins Philippine presidential elections   [05-11-16]

Following the withdrawal of his opponents, Rodrigo Digong Duterte won the Philippine presidential elections following the withdrawal of opponent

  • Main rival Mar Roxas admitted defeat after the polls provided Duterte with an unassailable lead
  • He is credited with success to a tough stance on law and order earning the moniker the Punisher for his record as a crime crushing mayor.

▼ Enda Kenny re-elected PM of Ireland   [05-10-16]

Enda Kenny has been re-elected as Prime Minister of Ireland after 10 weeks of deadlock that followed an inconclusive general election in February.

  • Kenny is the first Fine Gael PM to win re-election in Irish history
  • Ireland is called Éire in Irish and is also known as the Republic of Ireland. Irish, or Irish Gaelic is the country’s first official language

▼ North Korean ruling party announces new title for Kim Jong Un   [05-10-16]

The ruling party congress on May 9, 2016 announced a new title for Kim long Un, party chairman in a move indicating how the country’s first congress is bolstering the young leader

  • Less than a third of 100 foreign journalists called for the congress were permitted to attend and that only for 10 minutes
  • BBC correspondent Rupert Winfield Hayes was also expelled from the party for allegedly “insulting the dignity” of N. Korea

▼ SDP party in disarray, Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann resigns   [05-10-16]

With the Social Democratic party in a fix after election loss, Austrian Chancellor Wener Faymann resigned on May 9th citing lack of support for his policies in his own party.

  • While asserting he had majority support, he said the country needed a chancellor who has the full support of the party
  • SDP suffered a series of losses in provincial elections as did Centrist People’s Party
  • Two of these parties have dominated politics since WW2
  • Freedom party has done well following the refugee crisis.

▼ Labour candidate Sadiq Khan wins Mayoral elections in London   [05-9-16]

Labour candidate Sadiq Khan’s imminent election as London’s first ethnic-minority and Muslim Mayor in the poll held on May 5 will reinforce the city’s credentials as one of Europe’s more diverse and inclusive capitals.

  • The UK voted on May 5 to the Assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 124 councils in England, and three mayoralties.

▼ Donald Trump is presumptive Republican nominee for US Presidency   [05-5-16]

Real estate developer Donald J Trump (69) was declared the presumptive Republican nominee for the U.S presidency after his principal challenger, Ted Cruz, left the race after a crushing defeat in the Indiana primary on Tuesday.

  • Hillary Clinton, making her way towards the certain Democratic nomination, took another hit in Indiana where Senator Bernie Sanders beat her. National matchup polls show Ms Clinton ahead of Mr Trump
  • The last man standing in Donald Trump’s path to the Republican nomination, Ohio Governor John Kasich ended his campaign Wednesday, making Trump the party’s presumptive nominee.

▼ EU allows countries to extend border controls in Schengen area   [05-3-16]

Following a request by Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Sweden, the European Union (EU) is set to allow countries to extend border control in the passport-free Schengen area as a result of the migrant crisis and recent terror attacks.

  • The five countries wrote to the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, saying the border situation remains "extremely volatile" and asked to prolong their right to keep frontier checks.
  • Sources said the Commission was set to approve the measure in line with its so-called "roadmap" for the restoration of the normal functioning of Schengen "by the end of the year".

▼ AUUB backs Pak infrastructure programme    [05-3-16]

China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has chosen a Pakistan based highway construction program among the first batch of projects it will finance.

  • The Asian Development Bank has also joined as a co-financer.
  • In effect, the two banks have agreed to support one of the projects in the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the first program under the Silk Road plan introduced by Chinese president Xi Jinping.

▼ Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sets world’s biggest ivory bonfire   [05-2-16]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has set fire to the world’s biggest ivory bonfire following a total ban on trade in tusks and horns to end murder through trafficking and prevent extinction of elephants in the wild.

  • 11 giant pyres of tusks and another of rhino horns were arranged in semi circle for burning in Nairobi National Park.
  • Africa is home to between 450,000 and 500,000 elephants; more than 30,000 are killed every year to satisfy the demand for ivory.
  • Pyre contains 16,000 tusks and pieces of ivory.