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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - December 2020

Dec 2020

Jun 13, 2021

China Passes Legislation Banning "Defamation" of Military Personnel

  • China has passed a new legislation that bans defamation of military personnel, adding an array of legal tools to its 2018 law under which a Chinese popular blogger was punished recently for defaming PLA soldiers killed in last year's clash with the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
  • The legislation, which was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Thursday, states that no organisation or individual may in any way slander or derogate the honour of servicemen, nor may they insult or slander the reputation of members of the armed forces.
  • The new legislation also bans the desecration of plaques in honour of military personnel.
  • The new law adds to an array of legal tools that already ban defamation of revolutionary martyrs , including revisions to the country's criminal code and a 2018 Law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs.

Jun 11, 2021

Biden and Johnson Revise the Atlantic Charter

  • President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain signed a new version of the 80-year old "Atlantic Charter", using their first meeting to redefine the Western alliance and accentuate what they said was a growing divide between battered democracies and their autocratic rivals, led by Russia and China.
  • The two leaders unveiled the new charter as they sought to focus the world's attention on emerging threats from cyberattacks, the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended the global economy, and climate change, using language about reinforcing NATO and international institutions that Biden hoped would make clear that the Trump era of America First was over.

Japan Says Taiwan Relations under 'One Country, Two Systems' Policy

  • Japan's relations with Taiwan are non-governmental and practical, based on the one country, two systems policy that recognises China as the sole legitimate government, a top Japanese official said, following Beijing's protest over a recent reference to the island as a country.
  • As China flexes its muscle in the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region, the issue of Taiwan is a sensitive topic, especially as Japan, the United States and other democracies develop closer ties with the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as a renegade territory to be united by force if necessary.
  • As per reports, Japan's position is to maintain relations with Taiwan as practical and non-governmental, in line with the 1972 Japan-China Communique, when Tokyo switched the diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

Trump-appointed US Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman Resigns

  • Todd Chapman the US ambassador known for friendly ties with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tendered his resignation after just over a year in the position and is leaving the diplomatic service.
  • His appointment in Oct. 2019 came as Bolsonaro was projecting ideological alignment with the US and then-President Donald Trump.

Jun 10, 2021

US Will Maintain its Diplomatic Presence in Afghanistan

  • As per Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the US is only withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, not withdrawing from the country, and it is determined to maintain a strong diplomatic presence there to extend economic and humanitarian support.
  • Responding to apprehensions of senators about the future of several programmes in Afghanistan, including those for women and children, Blinken assured them that the programmes will continue with the support of the Congress.

South Africa and UAE Ratify Extradition Treaty

  • An extradition treaty between South Africa and the UAE has been ratified paving the way for Indian-origin businessmen Gupta brothers to be returned to the African nation from Dubai to stand trial for allegedly looting billions of Rands from state-owned institutions.
  • Former South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha had signed the treaty in 2018.
  • The UAE, however, signed the treaty in June 2021.
  • The treaty will enable the two countries to assist each other in the investigation and prosecution of crimes through mutual legal assistance and the extradition of fugitives.

Jun 09, 2021

Economist's Annual Survey of World's Most Liveable Cities

  • According to annual survey of World's most liveable cities 2021, Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up rankings of liveable cities.
  • Auckland is the most liveable city in 2021 because of its successful approach in containing pandemic.
  • Auckland is followed by Osaka and Tokyo in Japan, Adelaide in Australia and Wellington in New Zealand. All these countries had swift response to pandemic.
  • According to the report, metropolises in Australia, Japan and New Zealand leaping ahead of metropolises in Europe.
  • Life remains most difficult in Damascus because of Syria's ongoing civil war.
  • Most notable rise was by Honolulu, Hawaii in United States. It came to 14th position by moved up 46 places. Ranking improved because of its containment measures and fast vaccination programme.

Israel Parliament to Vote on New Government

  • Israel's parliament speaker has scheduled a vote on a new government that would end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule, the longest in the country's history.
  • The fragile coalition consists of eight parties spanning Israel's political spectrum, with only a narrow majority in the 120-member Knesset, or Parliament. But it appears to have held together despite a furious campaign by Netanyahu's supporters that includes death threats and protests outside lawmakers' homes. Naftali Bennett, an ultranationalist former Netanyahu ally, would serve as prime minister for two years, followed by centrist Yair Lapid, the driving force behind the coalition, who thanked the speaker for scheduling the vote.

UN Secretary Gen Antonio Guterres Set to be Re-elected as Chief

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is all set to be re-elected as chief of the world body after the powerful Security Council adopted by acclamation a resolution recommending his name to the General Assembly for a second five-year term beginning January 1, 2022.
  • The 15-nation Council held a closed meeting where it adopted the resolution recommending Guterres' name to the 193-member General Assembly for a second term as Secretary General.

Biden Administration to Go after China on Trade

  • The United States will target China with a new "strike force" to combat unfair trade practices, as it rolled out findings of a review of US access to critical products, from semiconductors to electric-vehicle batteries.
  • The "supply chain trade strike force," led by the US trade representative, will look for specific violations that have contributed to a "hollowing out" of supply chains that could be addressed with trade remedies, including toward China.

Jun 08, 2021

Peru Election: Pedro Castillo Gains Last-minute Lead

  • Left-wing candidate Pedro Castillo has edged into the lead in a dramatic twist in Peru's presidential election.
  • With 94% of votes counted, Mr. Castillo overtook his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori, who is running for the presidency for the third time.
  • He has a lead of 0.1 percentage point, with just over 25,000 votes currently separating the two candidates.
  • They have both called for calm while the count is under way. This is Peru's most polarised poll in recent history.
  • Ms. Fujimori had been leading since the official count began, but as results from rural areas - where support for Mr. Castillo is strong - started to come in, the gap between them narrowed.

Kamala Harris tells Guatemala Migrants: 'Do Not Come to US'

  • US Vice President Kamala Harris has urged would-be migrants in Guatemala not to try to enter the United States illegally.
  • Speaking on her first overseas trip since taking office, she said that the journey north was dangerous and would mainly benefit people smugglers.
  • Ms. Harris warned people they would be turned back at the border.
  • She has been tasked by President Joe Biden with controlling a surge in migration at the southern border.
  • Ms Harris has described her task as finding solutions to tackle the root causes of the border crisis, including corruption and the lack of economic opportunities.

Abdulla Shahid Elected President of 76th Session of UN General Assembly

  • Maldives' Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was elected as the new President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), winning a three-fourth majority against contender Afghanistan's former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul.
  • Shahid garnered 143 votes while Rassoul received 48 votes out of the 191 votes polled.
  • The election to the UNGA presidential post is held on an annual basis, rotated amongst various regional groupings. The 76th UNGA session (2021-22) was the turn of the Asia-Pacific group.
  • This is the first time the Maldives will be occupying the office of the President of the UNGA.
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