International Current Affairs December 2020

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International Current Affairs December 2020

International Current Affairs December 2020

30th December, 2020

Argentina legalizes abortions till the 14th week of pregnancy

After a 12 hour-long marathon session the Senate of Argentina has legalized he abortions till the 14th week of pregnancy. Since 1921, abortions were allowed only in the case of rapes or when there was a risk to mother’s life due to the pregnancy. The Bill was approved by the Senate after 38 out of 68 members voted in favor of the reform and 29 against the reform. The women in Argentina started protesting the existing law by wearing green handkerchiefs. Latin America’s highly influential Catholic Church is opposing the new Bill.   

23rd Dcember, 2020

Florin Citu becomes the new Prime Minister of Romania

Former Investment Banker and Finance Minister, Floren Citu has been elected as the new Prime Minister of Romania. He belongs to the New Liberal Party (NLP) which got approved by the Romanian Parliament with 260 out of 465 seats. The opposition group- Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) secured only 30 % of the total votes. Florin Citu served as the Finance Minister of Romania under the leadership of Ludovic Orban from November, 2019. He also served as a senator from 2016 to 2020.  

Israel moves for new elections after the collapse of Israel’s coalition government

Israel heads for its 4th election in 2 years after the collapse of the coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz formed in the month of May, 2020. Israel’s government got dissolved by the Parliament after it failed to pass a budget by the deadline of 22nd December’s midnight. Troubled partnership between Israel’s current and alternate PM, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz was the reason behind the government’s failure.  Benny Gantz was kept out of the key decisions and agreements made by the government which fired-up the controversies.     

22nd December, 2020

Singapore’s Foodie Hawker Culture gets UNESCO recognition

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially recognized Singapore’s tradition of communal dining at Foodie Hawker centers. It has been included in the UNESCO’s list of ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. Singapore applied for UNESCO’s recognition in 2018. Hawker Culture is the community of food vendors who cook meals and sell them in 114 hawker centers across Singapore. People gather in the Community dining rooms where the meals are available for three times a day.

21st December, 2020

Donald Trump honors PM Modi and other leaders of the QUAD with ‘Legion of Merit’

Donald Trump has honored the Prime Ministers of QUAD nations (India, Japan, USA and Australia) with ‘Legion of Merit’. Trump honored Scott Morrison (PM of Australia), Shinzo Abe (Former PM of Japan) and Narendra Modi (PM of India). The honor of ‘Legion of Merit’ is given to the military and political figures of USA and other countries for their outstanding services and achievements. The honor was received by Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to USA on the behalf of PM Modi.

18th December, 2021

India to manufacture 300 million doses of Sputnik-V in 2021

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed agreements with 4 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in India which will produce around 300 million doses of Sputnik-V vaccine for preventing COVID-19.  RDIF has finalized 10 production sites in India after ensuring the standards of the manufacturing facilities in India. Sputnik-V vaccines that have been already produced in India are under trial in Russia. Sputnik-V vaccine is the world’s first vaccine to be developed against COVID-19. It has an effectivity of 95 % against the existing strains of COVID-19 virus.

16th December, 2020

Srinagar’s Amar Singh College wins ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

 Amar Singh College, Srinagar has become one of the seven recipients of the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. It is the first time for Kashmir to win any international award for cultural heritage. Amar Singh College won the award for restoring the 80 year old college building which is one of the most prominent institutional buildings in Kashmir. The restoration work was carried out by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Jammu & Kashmir.

12th December, 2020

2nd edition of Bangladesh-India Cotton Fest held at Dhaka

Bangladesh-India Cotton Fest 2020 has been hosted by Bangladesh at its capital city, Dhaka. The fest was jointly organized by Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), Indian Cotton Association Ltd. (ICAL) and India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI). Bangladesh PM’s advisor, Salman Fazlur Rahman was the Chief Guest of the event. 30 companies from India attended the fest that showcased the best industrial practices of Bangladeshi cotton industry. Bangladesh is one of the largest importer of cotton in the world.

10th December, 2020

French Cabinet presents a draft law against Islamism

The French cabinet has recently presented a draft law that primarily targets “radical Islamism” though the word “Islamist” is not specifically mentioned in the text. The bill comes in the wake of the religious disharmony and series of terrorist attacks witnessed by France in recent times, majorly in response to the recent beheading of a school teacher in France. The provision of the law entails many positive measures including school education reforms to make sure that the  Muslim children do not drop out, stricter regulation on mosques and preachers, and stringent rules against online hate campaigns.

9th December, 2020

Nana Akufo-Addo becomes the President of Ghana for the 2nd time

76 year old, Akufo-Addo has become the President of Ghana for the 2nd consecutive time. He belongs to the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP). He won the presidential re-election by defeating John Dramani Mahama of National Democratic Congress (NDC) with 6730587 votes accounting 51.302% of the total votes. It will be his final stint as the President of Ghana.  Nana Akufo Addo’s father Edward Akufo Addo is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Ghana. He became the Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in October 2020.

The State Department of the United States of America has classified countries under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).

China, North Korea, Pakistan are among eight other countries that are of particular concern (CPC) for violation of religious freedom. Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia on a Special Watch List (SWL). Al-Shabaab, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, are among the other ‘Entities of Particular Concern’.

Northern Ireland Protocol

After Brexit, the Northern Ireland Protocol has come into the picture, The 310-mile border of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland is the only land border between the UK and the European Union. Under the Northern Ireland protocol agreement, goods will not be required to be checked along the Irish border when the new UK-EU relationship shall commence on the 1st of  January.

8th December, 2020

ADB has approved technical assistance for advanced biofuel development in India

Asian Development Bank has approved a Technical Assistance of USD 2.5 mn to support the development of advanced biofuels and to address energy security, waste recycling, climate change, and air pollution. This is in tandem with the National Policy on Biofuels to harness waste and to promote the advanced biofuel market.

World Economic Forum will be held in Singapore in 2021

World Economic Forum's annual gathering of academics, politicians, and business leaders will move from Davos to Singapore be held in Singapore from 13-16 May 2021, making its debut in Asia. The shift was due to the coronavirus concerns, making it only the second time when the event was scheduled to be held outside of Switzerland since its inception in 1971.

France has launched New Security Law

 Paris has introduced a controversial ‘Global Security’ security bill in the parliament that aims to provide greater autonomy,  powers, and protections for police officers which allows them to use air-based surveillance using drones, additionally making it punishable to film police officers and parliamentary forces. France has since witnessed massive street protests.

7th December 2020

 New Development Bank has fast-tracked its financial assistance.

The New Development Bank has fast-tracked its financial assistance of about five billion dollars to the BRICS countries. This shall include Emergency Assistance of one billion dollars to India to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it was also acknowledged and appreciated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan since its independence

Since its independence, Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan. The PTA will allow duty-free access to a range of goods between the two countries and hence boost bilateral trade between them. The trade volume between the two countries is approximately 50 million dollars with 7.56 million of export

5th December 2020

Bhashan Char Island

Bhashan Char Island, also known as Char Piya, a low-lying island in Hatiya, Bangladesh is in the news as Bangladesh has recently transported more than 1,600 Rohingya refugees to this low-lying island in the first phase of a controversial planned relocation of 1,00,000 people. The island is submerged underwater from June to September every year, because of the monsoon, and the island has no flood fences.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has removed cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV drugs. 

The UN CND has voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the  Schedule IV drug of 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, decades after they were first placed on the list. This decision of the CND is in tandem with a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation that was announced in 2019 which was to remove cannabis from its ‘most dangerous’ category. India, like the majority of nations like the USA and most of the European nations, voted in favor of the move. Pakistan, China, and Russia were primary among those who voted against this decision, Ukraine did not vote and abstained from voting.

3rd December, 2020

New Zealand declares Climate Emergency

New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern declared a state of Climate Emergency on 3rd December, 2020. The declaration was made to seek attention of the citizens of New Zealand to the nation’s goal of making the public sector of New Zealand ‘carbon-neutral’ by the end of 2025. After the declaration, New Zealand has joined 32 other countries that have pledged to cut down their carbon footprint. The countries that declared total climate emergency are-  Japan, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales, Jersey, Ireland, Portugal, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Italy, Maldives, Malta, South Korea, Spain.