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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - September 2020

Sep 2020

Aug 04, 2021

Afghan Foreign Minister Speaks to EAM Jaishankar on Escalating Violence by Taliban

  • Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar spoke to his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar on August 3 to explore the possibility of convening an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to discuss ways to stop the Taliban's violence and human rights abuses in Afghanistan.

Aug 03, 2021

Nikol Pashinyan Re-appointed as PM of Armenia

  • Nikol Pashinyan has been re-appointed as the Prime Minister of Armenia by President Armen Sarkissian on August 02, 2021. Pashinyan, the leader of the Civil Contract Party, won the majority of seats in parliamentary elections in June 2021. The 46-year-old Pashinyan was first appointed as the Prime Minister in 2018.

Thailand Moves to Strengthen EU Ties

  • According to analysts, European investors are increasingly playing a bigger role in the Thai economy, allowing the Southeast Asian country to diversify trade and business away from the United States and China.
  • In 2020, European Union investment accounted for 8.2% of all overseas investment in Thailand, compared with 3.8% for the US and 15.4% for China. The figure has increased each year from just 4.4% in 2016.
  • The bloc is also Thailand's fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth €29 billion ($35 billion) in 2020.
  • According to the ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute's latest State of Southeast Asia report, around 47% of Thai respondents chose the EU as their preferred "third country" to hedge against the uncertainties of the US-China strategic rivalry.

Myanmar Military Leader Extends Rule, Pledges to Hold New Multiparty Elections in 2023

  • Nearly six months after the Myanmar military snatched power from the country's civilian government, the chief of the armed forces said that the new elections would be held in the country and the prevailing state of emergency would be revoked by August 2023, thus extending the rule of the military by nearly 18 months.
  • The state of emergency was imposed initially for a period of one year, according to the military's announcement days after it ousted the elected leader of the country Aung San Suu Kyi in February this year.
  • The state administration council, as the junta calls itself, also appointed Min Aung Hlaing as the Prime Minister of the caretaker government.

Aug 02, 2021

Pakistan Finalises Law to Award New Status to Gilgit-Baltistan

  • Pakistan authorities have finalised a law to award provisional provincial status to strategically located Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • As per reports, under the proposed law by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Supreme Appellate Court (SAC) of Gilgit-Baltistan may be abolished and the region's election commission is likely to be merged with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
  • The draft of the bill titled '26th Constitutional Amendment Bill' had been prepared and submitted to PM Imran Khan.

Aug 01, 2021

Duterte Restores Philippines's Key Military Agreement with US

  • President Rodrigo Duterte has restored a pact governing the presence of US troops in the Philippines, the two countries' defence secretaries announced, retracting a decision that had caused increasing concern among policymakers in Washington and Manila.
  • The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provides rules for the rotation of thousands of US troops in and out of the Philippines for war drills and exercises. It has assumed additional importance as the United States and its allies contend with an increasingly assertive China, particularly in the disputed South China Sea.

Najib Mikati Becomes Lebanon's New Prime Minister

  • Najib Mikati became Lebanon's new Prime Minister with 72 votes in parliament while the former ambassador Nawaf Salam received only one vote.
  • This is the third stint of Mikati as Lebanon's Prime Minister. In April 2005, Mikati had briefly served as caretaker Prime Minister, and in 2011, he headed a full-scale government for three years.
  • Mikati's appointment came 11 days after Saad Hariri resigned as Prime Minister after nine months of political turmoil and disputes with President Aoun and his son-in-law MP Gebran Bassil.
  • Mikati received support from most political parties in Lebanon, including Amal Movement, the Future Movement, Marada Movement, Hezbollah, and Progressive Socialist Party.
  • Two main Christian parties in the country, the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement opposed Mikati's appointment.
  • Najib Mikati is the 31st Prime Minister of Lebanon. Mikati is a Lebanese politician and businessman who has served as caretaker PM of Lebanon in 2005 and headed a full-scale government from 2011 to 2014.

Jul 31, 2021

Biden Nominates Indian-American Rashad Hussain as Ambassador

  • U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated Indian-American attorney Rashad Hussain as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the first Muslim to be nominated to the key position.
  • Mr. Hussain is currently Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council.
  • He previously served as Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice's National Security Division. During the Obama administration, he served as US Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), US Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications and Deputy Associate White House Counsel.

Bill Introduced in US to End Stay of Foreign Students after Studies

  • A group of US lawmakers has reintroduced a legislation in the House of Representatives to eliminate a programme that allows foreign students to stay in the country for work after the completion of their studies under certain conditions, a Bill if passed into law can affect tens and thousands of Indians studying in this country.

Russia Fines Google 3 Million Roubles

  • Russia fined Google 3 million roubles ($41,017) for violating personal data legislation, Google's first fine for that offence.
  • Google confirmed the fine and offered no further comment.
  • The penalty comes amid a wider standoff between Russia and Big Tech, with Moscow routinely fining social media giants for failing to remove banned content and seeking to compel foreign tech firms to open offices in Russia.
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