Current Affairs "International Events" – March 2011

Yunus removed as Grameen Bank chief

The central bank of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Bank, has removed Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus as the Managing Director of Grameen Bank.

The microcredit pioneer won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 along with the Grameen Bank, which he founded.

The central bank had earlier sent a letter to the Grameen Bank Board informing it was not consulted when Dr. Yunus was appointed MD in 2000 for an indefinite period. The central bank expressed the opinion that Dr. Yunus, now 70, had passed the retirement age of 60 years and must step down.

Under the Bank Company Act, the central bank is empowered to take legal action against a Director or Managing Director of any commercial and specialised bank for working against the interests of the depositors.

Dr. Yunus faced serious controversies after a Norwegian television documentary last year alleged diversion of the bank’s funds to a partner organisation, the Grameen Kalyan Fund. The Norwegian government later cleared Dr. Yunus of any wrongdoing.

China plans Tibet-Xinjiang rail links

China has unveiled plans to link up Tibet and Xinjiang, its two far-western frontier regions, with a new railway network as part of a wider initiative to boost infrastructure projects in border areas in the next Five-Year Plan (2011-15).

Officials announced a new railway link that will shorten the distance between the two regions’ capitals, Lhasa and Urumqi, by more than 1,000 km and also provide the first direct rail link between the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and Xinjiang.

Another railway line between Kashgar and Hotan, which is near the western section of India’s disputed border with China, has also opened to cargo traffic and will begin ferrying passengers by June this year, reports in the State media said.

China will embark on a 10-year 310-billion yuan ($47.6 billion) project to add 8,000 km of railways in Xinjiang in the next Five-Year Plan (2011-15), stretching across 90 per cent of its counties. Six airports will also be built.

Thousands fleeing fighting in Ivory Coast
More fighting has been reported from the West African state of Ivory Coast with thousands of people fleeing across the border to Liberia. The country has been in political turmoil ever since outgoing President Laurant Gbagbo refused to recognise his electoral defeat in the presidential poll held on November 28. Mr. Gbagbo’s rival Allassane Ouattara has been recognised as the President by the United Nations but the former leader has refused to relinquish power plunging the country into violence and uncertainty.
Analysts say the political crisis following the disputed presidential election could spill over into full-blown civil war — nearly 400 people have been killed since the November 28 vote, according to the U.N. and Associated Press.
IAEA approves safeguards for new Pakistani reactors
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave its approval to a safeguards agreement for two new reactors that Pakistan said China was building for it at Chashma.
The ‘Type-66’ agreement for the two reactors approved by the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors was identical to similar agreements already in place for Chashma-1 and Chashma-2.
India is a member of the IAEA Board and gave its assent for the same reason the other members did — the agreement was of a standard type and there is nothing in the statute of the agency which prohibits the transfer of nuclear reactors to a country like Pakistan, which, like India, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). But China is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the rules of the cartel — many of whose 46 members also sit on the IAEA Board — expressly ban the sale of nuclear equipment to countries that are outside the NPT and do not place all their nuclear facilities under international supervision.
UN Women’s scheme for widows
To mark the 100 {+t} {+h} anniversary of International Women’s Day, UN Women announced a new regional programme to address the needs of widows in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“India has an estimated 40 million widows, and their lives are often mired in poverty, neglect, and deprivation. The time has come for us to act and create space for widows in mainstream policy and social welfare schemes. Their situation has to be recognised and addressed,” said Anne F. Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women South Asia.
The three-year programme, funded jointly by UN Women Swiss National Committee and Standard Chartered Bank, will be implemented in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to reduce social ostracism faced by widows. This will be done by collecting data and evidence to highlight the stigma faced by them, by working with widows’ coalitions so they can speak up and access public
services, and finally by guaranteeing that discrimination and social practices against widows
are reviewed and repealed.
Dalai Lama to step down
The Dalai Lama announced that he would step down as “political head” of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile but would remain as religious leader and continue to advocate “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, 75, a Nobel Laureate, said he would hand over his “formal authority” to a “freely-elected” leader. He said he was committed to playing his part for the “just cause” of Tibet.
Illinois abolishes death penalty
Illinois became the 16th State of the United States to abolish the death penalty when its Governor, Pat Quinn, announced the decision.
QUAKE, TSUNAMI RAVAGE JAPAN
A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast, killing hundreds of people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.
Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii and warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.
The 8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-ft. tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 2,100 km. stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre. The area around a nuclear power plant in northeast Japan was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed.
Japan races to avert nuclear meltdowns
Facing an unprecedented nuclear crisis, Japan struggled hard to avert multiple meltdowns at two of its reactors damaged by the devastating earthquake and tsunami as it braced itself for a fresh explosion at the Fukushima plant amid fears that the toll may exceed 10,000 in the ravaged northeastern coast.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said excessive levels of radiation at the Onagawa nuclear power plant led authorities to report a state of emergency there.
The Kyodo news agency said 1.80 lakh people were evacuated from a 20-km radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Already over 3.5 lakh people have already moved out of the region.
International disaster relief teams are being sent to Japan, with the U.N. helping to coordinate the operation.
China hints at new development approach to Tibet
Ahead of the third anniversary of the March 14 riots in Tibet, a top official from the region said the government would pay more attention to preserving Tibetan culture to address rising concerns about imbalanced growth.
Tibetans, as well as many of China’s 54 other minority groups who together make up 8.4 per cent of the population, have voiced concerns that focus on rapid development has eroded their cultures, with increasing migration of the majority ethnic Han Chinese to areas traditionally inhabited by ethnic minorities. Ahead of the anniversary of the riots, which left at least 22 people dead, the government has warned of “grave challenges” to stability in Tibet. In recent days, it has increased security restrictions in Lhasa and surrounding areas. It has also imposed travel bans on Tibetans and barred foreign tourists from travelling to Tibet.
Cooling systems fail at third reactor in plant
The risk of partial meltdown at a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan increased as cooling systems failed at a third reactor, possibly exposing its fuel rods, only hours after a second explosion at a separate reactor blew the roof off a containment building.
The widening problems underscore the difficulties Japanese authorities are having in bringing several damaged reactors under control three days after a devastating earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan’s northeast coast and shut down the electricity that runs the crucial cooling systems for reactors.
Operators fear that if they cannot establish control, despite increasingly desperate measures to do so, the reactors could experience meltdowns, which would release catastrophic amounts of radiation.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant and the Fukushima Daini power station, about 10 miles away, have been under a state of emergency.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs both plants, said it had restored the cooling systems at two of three reactors experiencing problems at Daini. That would leave a total of four reactors at the two plants with pumping difficulties.
“The whole country was focused on Three Mile Island,” he said, referring to the Pennsylvania nuclear plant accident in 1979. “Here you have Tokyo Electric Power and the Japanese regulators focusing on multiple plants at the same time.”
Tri-nation group formed to free sailors
Outside the glare of media, a tri-nation monitoring group of diplomats has been established in Dubai to brainstorm ways of rescuing sailors on board ships that Somali pirates have hijacked.
Indian Consul-General. Mr. Verma hoped diplomats from Bangladesh, Tanzania and Pakistan would also join this group, as nationals from these countries were also aboard some of the hijacked ships.
Somali pirates are holding 53 Indian sailors captive on board five ships: the MV Iceberg, the MV Suez, the MT Asphalt Venture, the MT Savina Caylyn and the MV Sinin.
Radiation levels alarming
Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified dramatically after authorities announced that a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan might have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam.
The break, at the No. 3 reactor unit, worsened the already perilous conditions at the plant, a day after officials said the containment vessel in the No. 2 reactor had also cracked.
The developments were the latest in Japan’s swirling tragedy since an earthquake and tsunami struck the country with unbridled ferocity .
French air strike kicks off attacks on Qadhafi
UPSt
France launched an air strike on a target in Libya, kicking off an international campaign to prevent Muammar Qadhafi’s forces from crushing a month-old uprising against his rule.
A French warplane “opened fire at 5.45 p.m. (1645 GMT) on an unspecified vehicle,” French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burckhard told journalists in Paris, adding the military was “assured of the threat” to civilians posed by the target.
world leaders meeting in Paris agreed on ways to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in order to prevent attacks against civilian protesters by Col. Qadhafi’s forces.
French officials indicated that French Mirage and Rafale fighters were already overflying Libyan airspace. The British, the French, the Italians, the Spaniards and the Norweigians are among those fully on board.
Mr. Sarkozy also insisted on the international nature of the meeting, emphasising that the Arab League was fully represented.
Five Arab nations — Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates — were present, as was Arab League General Secretary Amre Mussa. Saudi Arabia, which initially proposed the use of its air force, did not attend.
Twenty-two heads of state and government as well as leaders of the United Nations and the European Union attended the meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were present.
Bahrain King pledges reform
Bahrain’s King pledged to bring reforms and another demonstrator was confirmed to have died in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, as international calls mounted for restraint.
“I shall not allow a stop in the reform process which I began when I took the reins of power,” said King Hamad in a statement on the official BNA news agency.
Bahrain faces mounting international pressure to exercise restraint and ensure the safety of jailed opposition leaders. Overnight, the United States said it was “deeply troubled” by the arrest of several opposition figures.
Election for head of Tibetan government-in-exile held
The election for the next “Kalon Tripa,” chairperson of the cabinet of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile, also referred to as its Prime Minister, generated keen interest in the Darjeeling hills not just within the Tibetan community there but also among the rest of the local population.
The election is being considered especially significant as it is being held in the backdrop of the Dalai Lama announcing his intention to step down as the political head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Thousands protest in Syria
Thousands of Syrians marched in the southern town of Daraa after the funeral of a protester killed in the previous day’s demonstration, a resident said.
UPSt
Daraa has become the unexpected nerve centre of anti-regime protests in Syria, holding daily demonstrations despite a massive deployment of security forces and a heavy-handed crackdown on protests that left five dead.
The protesters, who have been inspired by regime-changing revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, are demanding “freedom” and an end to 48 years of emergency laws in Syria under President Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez.
NATO takes over military operations
NATO will take over command and control of military operations in Libya, in particular the enforcement of the no-fly zone imposed under a Security Council resolution, said its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The U.S. State Department, in a conference call with journalists, denied that any crack in the Western alliance, or in the international community’s support for the military action.
nations such as Russia had disputed the U.S.’ claims surrounding civilian casualties resulting from the air strikes, the key backers of UNSCR 1973, authorising the no-fly zone, were on board.
Saleh proposes orderly exit
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced fresh conditions for his early exit, after mounting popular pressure calling for his removal was significantly bolstered when, breaking ranks, powerful sections of the Army, joined the protesters.
State television beamed images of Mr. Saleh addressing crowds, where he announced he would stand-down, but only after handing over power to “capable, responsible” hands. Calling for an orderly transition, Mr. Saleh, who has long projected himself as the pillar of stability in a tough political environment, said power could be transferred “peacefully and through constitutional means”. He invited the protesters for a “political dialogue” that could “pave the way for a political transition.”
Israel deploys Iron Dome
Israel deployed a cutting-edge rocket defence system, rolling out the latest tool in its arsenal to stop a recent spike in attacks from the neighbouring Gaza Strip.
The Iron Dome system has raised hopes that Israel has finally found a solution to the years of rocket fire from Gaza. The primitive rockets have evaded Israel’s high-tech weaponry, in part because their short flight path, just a few seconds, makes them hard to track.
Via-upscportal

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Posted on April 21, 2011, in Current Affair, International Events, March-2011. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. hello sir,
    please provide us Latest Current Affairs “International Events” of May 2011

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