HPSC Yearly Current Affairs 2020: International affairs-IV
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HPSC Yearly Current Affairs 2020: International affairs-IV

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HCS Last One Year Topic Wise Current Affairs: International Affairs Part-IV

Haryana Civil Services Exam

CURRENT AFFAIRS YEARLY 2020

Last one-year Current Affairs For HCS Exam: International Affairs Part-IV

1. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation (UN) postal agency released a commemorative postage stamp on the 40th  anniversary of the eradication of smallpox. 

  • The commemorative stamp was designed and developed by Sergio Baradat, United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) in collaboration with WHO.
  • The stamp will be available for purchase at unstamps.org and it can be used to mail postcards and letters around the world, provided that they are sent from the UN headquarters in New York, Geneva, or Vienna respectively.

2. Iranian lawmakers have voted to change Iran’s national currency from ‘rial’ to ‘toman’. 

  • The lawmakers approved an amendment to Iran’s Monetary and Banking Act Iran to make the change.
  • Under the amended law, the existing currency of Iran will continue to remain valid alongside "toman" for two years, during which the old coins and bills will be gradually collected to replace them with new ones.
  • The new currency is equal to 10,000 rials, marking a reduction of four zeros.

3. Russia will launch its 1st remote-sensing and emergency communications satellite ‘Arktika-M’ by December 9, 2020 

  • It will monitor the Arctic climate and the environment. 
  • It will be launched from Baikonur space center (Kazakhstan) using a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a freegate booster.
  •  The satellite will reportedly be launched using a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat booster. The Arktika-M is a remote-sensing and emergency communications satellite. It will help collect meteorological data from the polar regions of the Earth.
  • The Arktika M is a series of planned remote-sensing and emergency communications satellites that Russia plans to operate in a highly elliptical 12-hour orbit.

4. China has named its first Mars exploration mission to be launched later this year as Tianwen-1 as it celebrated 'Space Day' to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country's first satellite Dong Fang Hong-1 in 1970. 

  •  China's Mars mission plans to complete orbiting, landing, and roving in one mission.
  • China National Space Administration (CNSA) named the Mars mission as "Tianwen," which means Heavenly Questions or Questions to Heaven, a poem written by China's well-known poet Qu Yuan 
  • China in recent years has emerged as a major space power with manned space missions and landing a rover in the dark side of the moon.
  •  India became the first Asian country to have successfully launched its Mars orbiter mission, Mangalyaan which has entered the orbit of the red planet in 2014. 

5. Lebanon became the 1st Arab nation to legalize cannabis (also known as marijuana) farming for medicinal & industrial use with the aim to boost exports & to beat the economic crisis created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • Lebanon faces the worst economic crisis due to lockdown since the 1975-1990 civil war.
  • Along with the above decision, the Parliament of Lebanon has also approved the re-allocation of $40 million from a World Bank (WB) loan to help fight COVID-19.
  • As per the United Nations, Lebanon is the 3rd largest supplier of cannabis resin in the world after Morocco and Afghanistan

6. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister wrote his autobiography;  A Bigger Picture

  • It is a remarkable story of his life and the narrative of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. 
  • He describes how he legalized same-sex marriage, established Snowy Hydro 2.0, stood up to Donald Trump.

7. Iran has successfully launched the country's first military reconnaissance satellite after months of failures, a program the United States alleges is a cover for missile development.

  • The first satellite of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been successfully launched into orbit by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC].
  • The two-stage satellite launch took off from Iran's Central Desert,
  • The launch comes amid tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal.

8. UN’s COP 26 climate summit has been postponed till 2021.

  • The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was planned to take place from 9-19 November 2020, in Glasgow, Scotland in the United Kingdom (UK) has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • The date and location for the same is unspecified. Pre-COP and ‘Youth for the Climate‘ events were also postponed, supposedly to be held in Italy.
  • This decision has been taken by the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC after discussion with the UK and Italian partners.
  • It should be noted that around 30,000 people, including 200 world leaders, had been due to attend the 10-day conference for crucial talks regarding rising global temperatures. Currently, the focus of countries is on saving lives and fighting COVID-19.
  • UNFCC Headquarter– Bonn, Germany
  • Executive Secretary– Patricia Espinosa

9. Luxembourg has announced that public transport is now free throughout the country, making it the first country in the world to offer free transport for both residents and visitors.

  • The motivation of the policy is to take more cars off the road. Luxembourg's population spends 30% of their time on the road,
  • The majority of business trips -- 47% -- are made by car. Roughly 66% of people in the country own their own cars.
  • The only exception are international and first-class train tickets, whose fees will remain in place. Trains account for only 19% of daily transport use and busses only 32%.
  • Luxembourg is one of the most congested locales in Europe and in the world.
  • Luxembourg City is the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU, and also the seat of several EU institutions and agencies.

10. Slovak President Zuzana Caputova administered the oath of office to new Prime Minister Igor Matovic amid economic turmoil due to the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Matovic is taking the leadership role as the country heads into recession after measures to control the virus have shuttered shops and cafes for more than a week.
  • Zuzana Caputova is the first female president of Slovakia.

11. The UK was confirmed as the first co-chair of the Governing Council on the India-led global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

  • The coalition was established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is a voluntary international grouping, linking governments, UN agencies, banks, private sector groups, and academia to develop the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks.
  • The Governing Council is the highest policy-making body of the CDRI, co-chaired by India and a representative of another national government nominated by rotation every two years.
  • The UK was represented at the first council meeting this week by the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Indian-origin minister participated remotely over video link from the UK.
  • Sharma, who is President of the 2020 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), also held a meeting with Pramod Kumar Mishra, the Indian Prime Minister''s Principal Secretary, over video conference.

12. The G20 video summit was chaired by Saudi King Salman. As a member of G20, India was represented by PM Modi.

  •  At the summit, the leaders pledged to infuse 5 trillion USD into the global economy.
  • The summit was first of its kind with the leaders attending through video conferencing. 
  • The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries are to coordinate and develop an action plan.
  • The G20 Summit was to be held under the leadership of Saudi Arabia on November 21-22, 2020. 
  • It will focus on three aims:
  • Empowering People by creating the conditions in which all people especially women and youth can live, work and thrive
  • Safeguarding the Planet: by fostering collective efforts to protect our global commons
  • Shaping New Frontiers: by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share benefits of innovation and technological advancement

13. The United Nations launched a Global Humanitarian Response Plan to fight against COVID-19.

  • The organization has allocated 2 billion USD to implement the plan.
  • The plan has been launched in 51 countries of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and also Asia.
  • The plan is to be implemented by the United Nations in direct collaboration with international NGOs.
  • Under the plan, the organization is to deliver essential medical supplies and laboratory equipment to test the virus. 
  • Also, public information campaigns are to be launched. The campaigns will create awareness among people to save themselves and also save others.

14. Bangladesh has released the former Prime Minister and main opposition leader Khaleda Zia from prison for six months on condition that she would stay at home, amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

  • The 74-year-old opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief is serving a 17-year prison term in two graft cases since February 8, 2018.
  • Bangladesh observes its Independence Day on 26th March.

15. The annual African Union Summit has been organized in Addis Ababa.

  • The summit is being held under the African Union’s theme for the year 2020; Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development. 
  • The first statutory meeting of the summit of the Permanent Representatives Committee will be held from 21st to 22nd of February.
  • Silencing the Guns is a commitment that the leaders vowed seven years ago to end all wars and conflicts by 2020, but failed.
  • The two-day leaders’ summit is being attended by more than 35 heads of state and government, as well as representatives of regional and international organizations.

16. The United Arab Emirates discovered shallow natural gas reserves of about 80 trillion cubic feet. The reserve was discovered between the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

  • The new gas field is spread over five thousand square kilometers and is the largest discovery of natural gas in the United Arab Emirates.
  • The India-UAE bilateral trade currently stands at 59.9 billion USD. India is the third largest investor in UAE. 
  • There are more than 2 million Indian population living and working in UAE. The total remittances from UAE to India in the year 2009 was 10 to 12 billion USD. 

17. Albin Kurti (44 years) has been appointed as the new and 4th Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo by its parliament.

  • Albin replaced Ramush Haradinaj as the PM, as Ramush resigned the post in July 2019 when he was summoned to be questioned at the war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Former rebel leader Albin Kurti also served as the vice-president of the University of Prishtina Student Union in Kosovo, and a main organizer of non-violent demonstrations in 1997 and 1998. 

18. The frequency of the Maitree Express and Bandhan Express trains connecting Bangladesh and India has been increased.

  • The Maitree Express running between Dhaka and Kolkata will now run 5 days a week. Earlier it was running 4 days a week.
  •  The additional service of Maitree Express will commence w.e.f. 11 February 2020 (Tuesday) from Dhaka and return on 12 February 2020 (Wednesday) from Kolkata.
  • Bandhan Express running between Kolkata and Khulna will now be running twice a week. Earlier it was running once a week.

19. The Pakistan High Commission has issued visas to a group of Hindu pilgrims to visit Shree Katas Raj temples in Punjab province's Chakwal district.

  • The group is planning to visit Shree Katas Raj temples, also known as Qila Katas or complex of Katas temples, from February 19 to 25
  • Katas Raj temples surround a pond which is considered sacred by the Hindus, it said.
  • A group of 88 Indian Hindu devotees had also visited Shree Katas Raj temples last year from December 13 to 19.
  • This is covered under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974.
  • The issuing of visas to Sikh and Hindu pilgrims is in line with the Pakistan government's efforts to facilitate visits to religious shrines

20. Karen Pierce, the UK’s permanent representative to the UN, has been appointed as Britain’s ambassador to Washington, becoming the first woman to hold the position – the most prominent in the diplomatic service.

Pierce, a career diplomat who joined the Foreign Office in 1981, faces an arduous task to restore frayed relations with Donald Trump’s administration after the previous ambassador, Kim Darroch, felt forced to resign over leaked cables that revealed he made uncomplimentary personal remarks about the US president.

21. The United Arab Emirates has issued a license for a reactor at its Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab World, hailing it as a "historic moment".

  • The UAE has substantial energy reserves, but with a power-hungry population of 10 million, it has made huge investments in developing alternative power sources including solar.
  • The Barakah plant, located on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi, had been due to come online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays that officials attributed to safety and regulatory requirements.
  • But the national nuclear regulator has now approved the operating license for the first of four reactors at the plant, said Hamad Al-Kaabi, the UAE representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

22. Maldives has once again become a member of the Commonwealth. 

  • President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih has reported that the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Petrika Scotland has confirmed this and Maldives has become the 54th member country of the Commonwealth. 
  • President Solih’s cabinet passed a proposal to rejoin the Commonwealth soon after coming to power in 2018.
  •  Earlier Maldives had been a member of the Commonwealth since 1982 but in 2016, the then President Abdullah Yamin decided to secede from the Commonwealth in protest against growing international pressure over corruption and human rights violations.

23. The Pacific Island, Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals.

  • The country has banned common ingredients used in cosmetics including oxybenzone.
  • The order of the ban was passed in 2018. However, it comes into effect from January 1, 2020. 
  • The Rock Islands in the Palau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The country has banned 10 ingredients that harm coral reefs. It includes oxybenzone, ethyl paraben, Octinoxate, Butyl paraben, Octocrylene, methyl benzylidene camphor, triclosan, benzyl paraben, methyl paraben, phenoxyethanol.

24. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has named Brigadier General Esmail Qaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to replace Qasem Soleimani.

  • The US army killed Iran’s most powerful military commander General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.
  • In a drone strike held by the US force at Baghdad airport, the Iranian Commander was killed along with other Iran supported militia heads.
  • Under his leadership, Iran had expanded its military presence in Syria and Iraq.
  • In May 2019, India stopped purchasing oil from Iran following US sanctions.