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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - December 2020

Dec 2020

Sep 06, 2021

Taliban Delegation Meets Pakistan Officials in Doha

  • A senior Taliban delegation led by Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai met with the Pakistani Embassy officials in Qatar where the two delegations discussed issues concerning the current developments in Afghanistan.
  • Both the sides held talks over humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and issues related to facilitating people's movement at Torkhan and Spinboldak.
  • This meet comes following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and subsequent refugees crises caused due to the weeks-long intense violence. Earlier this week, Pakistan closed its Chaman border with Afghanistan citing security concerns.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Wins Confidence Vote

  • Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has won a confidence vote in the Parliament after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition.
  • Rumours his own political allies might try to unseat him had recently overshadowed harsh criticism from the Opposition about his government's coronavirus response.
  • Mr. Prayuth won 264 votes in the House of Representatives against 208 no confidence votes.

El Salvador Court Rules Presidents Can Serve Two Consecutive Terms

  • El Salvador's top court has ruled that Presidents can serve two consecutive terms, paving the way for leader Nayib Bukele to seek re-election in 2024.
  • The judges behind the decision were appointed in May after the National Assembly, dominated by the President's party, sacked the previous justices.
  • The electoral tribunal said that it would follow the Supreme Court's order.
  • The ruling has been criticised by the opposition and activists, who accuse Mr. Bukele of authoritarian tendencies.
  • The 40-year-old President was elected in February 2019 on a promise to tackle rampant gang violence and political corruption, and remains hugely popular in the impoverished Central American nation.

UAE Introduces New Residency Guidelines to Attract Foreigners

  • The United Arab Emirates announced a new class of visas, the latest step in a series of moves aimed at attracting talent and boosting growth.
  • The new 'Green Visas' will allow expatriates to apply for work without being sponsored by an employer, and include children up to the age of 25 on their permits. The government also said it will allow people who've lost their jobs to remain in the country for up to 180 days, a major boost as most visas are tied to employment contracts.
  • Foreign residents make up more than 80% of the population of the UAE's seven sheikhdoms and have been a mainstay of the economy for decades. Oil-rich Gulf states have been forced to consider longer residency for foreigners as they seek to attract investment and diversify.

Sep 05, 2021

EU Foreign Ministers Outline Conditions for Relations with Taliban

  • European Union officials listed a set of conditions for defining the EU's level of engagement with the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.
  • Following the Afghan government's collapse last month, the 27-nation bloc and its member countries have evacuated their diplomats from Afghanistan. But EU officials have said they are willing to cooperate with the Taliban now that they have returned to power.
  • The EU is focusing on delivering humanitarian aid, guaranteeing the safe passage out of the country of Afghan collaborators and employees who were left behind during the airlifts from Kabul, and trying to prevent a mass exodus of refugees that could prompt another migration crisis in Europe.

Angela Merkel Inaugurates WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence

  • The World Health Organization launched a global data hub in Berlin to analyse information on emerging pandemic threats, filling the gaps exposed by COVID-19.
  • The WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence was inaugurated in the German capital by Chancellor Angela Merkel and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said that it would fill a gap in the world's defences.
  • One of the most clear is the need for new powerful systems and tools for global surveillance to collect, analyse and disseminate data on outbreaks.
  • The hub will try to get ahead of the game, looking for early warning signs that go beyond current systems that monitor publicly available information for emerging outbreaks.
  • Merkel hoped the new hub would help the world to be better prepared for future epidemics and pandemics, stressing that its findings would be shared with other countries.

World Social Protection Report 2020-22

  • World Social Protection Report 2020-22 was released by International Labour Organisation (ILO).
  • As per report, more than half of the world population is not getting any form of social protection. This trend of no social protection is there even after expansion of social protections amidst the global outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Only 47 per cent of the global population had effective access to one social protection benefit, in 2020 while 53 per cent (4.1 billion people) had no protection at all.
  • People in Europe and Central Asia are among the best covered population. 84 per cent of populations in Europe and Central Asia are having access to at least one benefit.
  • Social protection comprises of access to healthcare and income security in cases of unemployment, old age, inability to work, and for families with children.

Sep 04, 2021

Taliban Says China will Maintain its Embassy in Afghanistan

  • Taliban spokesman said that China has promised to keep its embassy in Afghanistan open and to increase humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country.
  • Abdul Salam Hanafi, a member of the Islamist group's political office in Doha, Qatar, held a phone conversation with Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China.
  • The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister said that they would maintain their embassy in Kabul, adding our relations would beef up as compared to the past. Afghanistan can play an important role in security and development of the region.

Sri Lanka Declares Food Emergency as Forex Crisis

  • Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency as the food crisis worsened after private banks ran out of foreign exchange to finance imports. With the country suffering a hard-hitting economic crisis, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered emergency regulations to counter the hoarding of sugar, rice and other essential foods. The Sri Lankan rupee has fallen by 7.5% against the US dollar this year.
  • Rajapaksa has named a top army officer as "Commissioner General of Essential Services to coordinate the supply of paddy, rice, sugar and other consumer goods". The move followed sharp price rises for sugar, rice, onions and potatoes, while long queues have formed outside stores because of shortages of milk powder, kerosene oil and cooking gas.

China Welcomes Russia's Plan for 'Extended Troika' Meeting in Kabul

  • China reacted positively to a Russian proposal to convene a meeting of the "Extended Troika" on Afghanistan in Kabul, the first such conference since the Taliban seized power last month.
  • Russia plans to convene a new meeting of the "Extended Troika" on Afghanistan in Kabul after the resumption of commercial flights.
  • The new meeting of the Extended Troika, includes Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan.

Sep 03, 2021

Japan's PM Suga Won't Run in Next Vote to Lead Party

  • As per reports, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga won't run for governing party leadership election, indicating he will step down as Japanese leader at the end of this month.
  • This means Japan is likely to have a new leader who is elected as head of LDP, due to the party's majority in the parliament.
  • Mr. Suga has faced criticism and nose diving support ratings over slow coronavirus measures and holding the Olympics despite the public's health concerns.

Nepal Government to Forms Committee to Study Nepal's Border Issue with China

  • The Nepal government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba decided to form a committee to study the border issue with China in Humla district of Nepal.
  • Last year, in the month of September, China encroached upon Nepalese territory and constructed nine buildings in border area from Limi Lapcha to Hilla in Namkha village municipality of Humla district.
  • A committee comprising Department of Survey, Nepal Police, Armed Police and Border Experts will be formed under the coordination of Home Ministry Joint Secretary to study the problems in the border area in Humla district.

Sep 02, 2021

UK Ready to Launch Strikes against ISIS-K in Afghanistan

  • The UK has said that it is ready to launch strikes at the ISIS-K terror network in Afghanistan after the Pentagon revealed that there are at least 2,000 fighters of the outfit in the war-torn country.
  • The Islamic State's Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, had claimed responsibility for the deadly twin blasts at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in which 169 Afghans and 13 American soldiers were killed.

Taliban Confirm Haibatullah Akhunzada as Supreme Leader of Afghanistan Govt.

  • The Taliban informed that supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada will be the head of the new Afghan government. Reports also indicate that there will also be a Prime Minister post in the next government.
  • Meanwhile, the head of the political office of the Taliban Mullah Baradar has also been appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.
  • Although the Taliban says consultations have been finalised on the formation of the new government but discussions have not been held over the system`s name, the national flag or national anthem.

Japanese Government Considers Moving Embassy in Afghanistan to Qatar

  • The Japanese government is considering transferring the functions of its embassy in Kabul to Qatar due to the tense situation in Afghanistan.
  • The embassy's work has been temporarily shifted to the Japanese Consulate-General in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • According to Foreign Minister ToshimitsuMotegi, the government will continue its efforts to support Japanese nationals, local embassy staff and others who wish to evacuate from Afghanistan.
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