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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - August 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 11, 2021

Taliban to Hold Oath Taking Ceremony on 9/11 Anniversary

  • The Taliban-led government of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) will likely take oath on September 11, the day of the attacks in the US. It is the 20th anniversary of the incident this year. The newly-formed Taliban government has sent invitations to various countries like China, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Qatar, India and also the US to be a part of the oath-taking ceremony.

Sep 10, 2021

Mexico Supreme Court Decriminalises Abortion

  • Supreme Court of Mexico has decriminalised abortion and has ruled that criminal penalties on terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional, in the state of Coahuila.
  • This ruling was meant for northern state of Coahuila. It now prevents women from being prosecuted for abortion.
  • Currently, abortion is severely restricted in four of the states in Mexico. It is also legal in cases of rape or where mother's life is in danger.
  • Thus, this decision could pave way to decriminalise abortion across Mexico.
  • Under Mexican law, this ruling will now apply to all the other states in the country.
  • With this ruling, women who were jailed for having abortions will now be released, with immediate effect.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to Stand as Vice-president

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted his party's nomination to run as vice-president in the next election.
  • The Constitution bars Mr. Duterte from a second term and rivals have accused him of seeking to cling onto power.
  • There has been speculation he would seek a politically weak running mate in order to rule from the number two role.

Afghan Envoy to UN Ghulam Isaczai Defies Taliban Regime

  • Afghanistan's Permanent Representative Ghulam Isaczai has defied the Taliban government and denounced its overthrow of the elected government and use of violence to reinstall the so-called Islamic Emirate.
  • Isaczai, who was appointed as the country's representative at the UN by ousted President Ashraf Ghani and presented his credentials in July, continues to represent the country under UN rules.

Sep 09, 2021

G7 Nations Urge Tunisia President to Appoint PM

  • The ambassadors of the G7 Group of advanced economies urged Tunisia's President to appoint a new head of government as a matter of urgency and return to a constitutional order in which an elected parliament plays a significant role.
  • In July, President Kais Saied swept aside the government, suspended parliament and took control of the country.
  • His opponents have accused him of staging a coup.
  • But his measures were broadly welcomed by Tunisians, who've been deeply disappointed by the performance of their political parties.

Pakistan Hosts Meeting of Afghanistan Neighbours

  • Pakistan hosted a virtual meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan's neighbours to discuss the latest situation in the war-torn country.
  • Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired the meeting attended by China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The Taliban seized control of war-torn Afghanistan in mid-August, ousting the previous elected leadership which was backed by the West. The Foreign Ministers' meeting on the Afghan issue took place at the invitation of Pakistan.
  • The meeting reviewed the evolving situation in Afghanistan to address common challenges and realise emerging opportunities to ensure regional stability and prosperity.

Sep 08, 2021

China Appoints New Army Commander to Head Western Theatre Command

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping appointed Gen Wang Haijiang as the new Commander of the People's Liberation Army's Western Theatre Command, which oversees the borders with India.
  • Xi, who also heads the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) the Central Military Commission (CMC), promoted Wang and four other military officers to the rank of General, the highest rank for officers in active military service in China.
  • The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the overall high command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Gen Wang is the fourth Commander to head the Western Theatre Command after the eastern Ladakh standoff which began in May 2020.

Greece Creates Climate Crisis Ministry

  • Greece's center-right government created a new ministry to address the impact of climate change and named former European Union Commissioner Christos Stylianides as Minister.
  • Stylianides who served as commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management between 2014 and 2019, was appointed in the wake of massive wildfires that burned more than 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of forest on the island of Evia and in southern Greece.
  • Before serving as commissioner, Mr. Stylianides was the European Union's head coordinator for the bloc's response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
  • Mr. Stylianides, who is a Cypriot national, was awarded Greek citizenship before being sworn in.

Hassan Akhund to Lead New Taliban Govt.

  • The Taliban announced a new government filled with senior officials from the militant group, including the leader of a U.S.-designated terrorist organisation.
  • Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the little-known head of the Taliban's leadership council, was named as acting Prime Minister. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the group, will serve as his deputy.
  • Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organisation, will serve as acting Interior Minister. That may complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

Sep 07, 2021

Stoltenberg Urges China to Join Nuclear Arms Control Talks

  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged China to join international efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons amid concerns that the Asian superpower is rapidly developing missiles capable of carrying atomic warheads.
  • Laying out his priorities for nuclear disarmament at NATO's annual arms control conference, Stoltenberg said that more countries must be included in future missile restriction talks, not just Russia.
  • As a global power, China has global responsibilities in arms control. And Beijing, too, would benefit from mutual limits on numbers, increased transparency, and more predictability.

India's Bar Association President Elected to ILAC Board of Directors

  • Bar Association of India President advocate Prashant Kumar was elected unanimously to the Board of Directors of International Legal Assistance Consortium. He is the second Asian to serve on the board of ILAC.
  • Kumar is known to specialise in constitutional, commercial and civil matters, arbitration, intellectual property and information technology law, apart from infrastructure, power, public private partnership and anti dumping. He was previously the president of Law Association for Asia and Pacific.
  • ILAC is a Sweden based international non-governmental organisation (NGO), that works to strengthen the rule of law, empower legal professionals and ensure equal access to justice in places undergoing conflict, crisis or transitions to democracy.

São Tomé and Príncipe Ex-minister Wins Presidency

  • São Tomé and Príncipe's former Infrastructure Minister Carlos Vila Nova has won the twice-postponed presidential run-off election.
  • Mr. Nova was backed by the opposition Independent Democratic Action party.
  • He received 57.54% of the votes.
  • It was delayed by court action after the outcome of the first round was disputed by the third-placed candidate, speaker of parliament Delfim Neves.
  • Current President Evaristo Carvalho, who has been in office since 2016, did not seek re-election, and said that he wanted to pass on the baton to the younger generation.
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