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Mar 2023

Sep 30, 2023

What is the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance?

  • The Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, often referred to as simply 'Five Eyes', is a secretive international intelligence coalition comprising five English-speaking countries. Established in the aftermath of World War II, this alliance has played a pivotal role in shaping global intelligence and security strategies. In this article, we will delve into the history, purpose, and controversies surrounding the Five Eyes alliance.
  • The Five Eyes alliance originated as a post-war intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Formed in 1946, its primary objective was to share signals intelligence (SIGINT) to counter the emerging Soviet threat during the Cold War.

Kamal Menghrajani, Indian-American Cancer Doctor, Among 15 Gifted White House Fellows

  • Kamal Menghrajani, an Indian-American cancer physician, is among 15 remarkably gifted, passionate, and accomplished individuals chosen to the 2023-2024 class of White House Fellows.
  • Menghrajani is placed at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She treats patients with leukaemia.
  • She will spend a year working with senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking administration officials.
  • While on faculty at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, she conducted cancer research focused on early diagnosis and prevention, and has spearheaded health equity efforts for vulnerable populations in global contexts, including Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Uganda.
  • Founded in 1964, the White House Fellows programme offers exceptional young leaders first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the Federal government. Fellows spend a year working with senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking administration officials and leave the Administration equipped to serve as better leaders in their communities.

Sep 29, 2023

International Scientists Make Refined Map of World's '8th Continent' Zealandia

  • A dedicated team of international geologists and seismologists embarked on a mission to chart the depths of Zealandia, a relatively unknown landmass submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. Their efforts resulted in the creation of an updated and highly detailed map that sheds light on the continent's intriguing geological features.
  • Zealandia, often referred to as the eighth continent, remains shrouded in oceanic mystery, with a staggering 94% of its expanse concealed beneath the sea's surface. The remaining 6% peeks above the waves, encompassing islands such as New Zealand and its neighboring isles.
  • The geological history of Zealandia dates back approximately 83 million years when volcanic forces played a pivotal role in the separation of the supercontinent Gondwana, giving rise to the continents we recognize today.

Sri Lanka's IMF Bailout Faces Delay Amidst Ongoing Debt Restructuring

  • Sri Lanka is facing delays in receiving the second tranche of its $2.9 billion IMF bailout package due to unresolved issues with its external debt restructuring. This crisis came as the nation grapples with its worst economic downturn in history, characterized by dwindling foreign exchange reserves and public protests over shortages of vital commodities.
  • In March 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted Sri Lanka a 48-month extended arrangement worth $2.9 billion under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The aim was to bolster Sri Lanka's economic policies and promote essential reforms.

Sep 28, 2023

North Korea Changes Constitution and Declares Itself a Nuclear State

  • North Korea adopted a constitutional amendment to enshrine its policy on nuclear force, as the country's leader pledged to accelerate production of nuclear weapons to deter what he called U.S. provocations.
  • The Supreme People's Assembly unanimously adopted the revision that states North Korea develops highly nuclear weapons to ensure its rights to existence and to deter war, after the conclusion of a two day-meeting of the North's rubber-stamp parliament.
  • "The DPRK's nuclear force-building policy has been made permanent as the basic law of the state, which no one is allowed to flout with anything," North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said, addressing the parliament. DPRK are the initials of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Sep 26, 2023

Nepal, China Sign 12 Agreements

  • China and Nepal signed 12 agreements, including seven MoUs, to enhance bilateral cooperation in various sectors including trade and road connectivity coinciding with the visit of Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda amid reports that he was not inclined to sign up Beijing's new security doctrine.
  • Prachanda who met President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asian Games in Hangzhou travelled to Beijing where he held wide-ranging talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.
  • The two sides exchanged views on the ways to further strengthen and consolidate the mutual understanding and cooperation and give a new impetus to the economy, trade and people-to-people contacts, said Nepal's embassy in Beijing.
  • As per reports, Prachanda was sidestepping China's pressure to welcome Xi's new doctrines, the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and its Global Civilisation Initiative (GCI).

On UNGA Sidelines, India's Jaishankar Meets Global Counterparts

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar held a series of bilateral meetings with his global counterparts on the sidelines of the high-level UN General Assembly session in New York, exchanging views on reforming multilateralism and cooperation in G20.
  • He held separate bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Armenia.

Russia Seeks to Rejoin UN's Human Rights Council

  • Russia is seeking to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council in an election that will be seen as a key test of its international standing.
  • It was expelled from the UN's pre-eminent human rights body in April 2022 after its forces invaded Ukraine.
  • But now Russian diplomats are seeking to get their country re-elected to the council for a fresh three-year term.
  • Diplomats said that Russia was hoping to regain some international credibility after being accused of human rights abuses in Ukraine and within its own borders.
  • The UN Human Rights Council is based in Geneva and has 47 members, each elected for a three-year term.
  • In the next elections, due on October 10, Russia will compete with Albania and Bulgaria for the two seats on the council reserved for central and eastern European countries.
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
  • The Council was established by the United Nations General Assembly on March 15, 2006 to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR, herein CHR).

Sep 25, 2023

Quad Foreign Ministers Meet on the Sidelines of UNGA

  • The Foreign Ministers of the Quad nations met in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • The four top diplomats reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and advancing a vision for a region that is peaceful and prosperous, stable and secure, free from intimidation and coercion, and where disputes are settled in accordance with international law.
  • The focus of the meeting was to reiterate common ground and take stock of the Quad's existing initiatives.
  • The Quad or the Quadrilateral coalition is a plurilateral framework comprising India, Australia, Japan and the US formed in 2017 to counter China's aggressive behaviour in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region.
  • His Excellency Dennis Francis, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, was elected as President of the 78th Session of the General Assembly. The election took place at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, on 1 June 1, 2023.

Biden Administration Poised to Allow Israeli Citizens to Travel to US without Visa

  • The Biden administration is poised to admit Israel this week into an exclusive club that will allow its citizens to travel to the United States without a U.S. visa despite Washington's ongoing concerns about the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinian Americans.
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