June 2011 international current affairs
- The Sri Lankan Central Bank Monetary Board announced that Chinese Renminbiwould be included in the list of designated currencies permitted for international transactions through banks in Sri Lanka. People can now transact in Renminbi (for cross-border transactions) with banks authorized for such transactions. The other currencies in the designated list are Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, US Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore dollar, Danish kroner, Euro, Norwegian kroner, British pound sterling, Swiss franc, Swedish kroner and Japanese yen. The Sri Lankan Monetary board reasoned that China was a leading player in international trade had economic connections with many countries. Recently, the Renminbi has evolved as a globally acceptable currency.
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party won a third term in office in elections inTurkey.
- The United Nations on 21 June 2011 launched a drive, Sustainable sanitation: The Five-Year-Drive to 2015 to accelerate progress towards the goal of halving the proportion of the population without access to basic sanitation by 2015. The drive launched on 21 June was established by the General Assembly in a resolution adopted in December 2010 that called on Member States to redouble efforts to close the sanitation gap, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.The UN had recognised access to sanitation as a human right, a basic service required to live a normal life. However despite the recognition, some 2.6 billion people or half the population in the developing world still lack access to improved sanitation.
- American President Barack Obama, announced plans to withdraw 10000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011. The pullout will continue at a steady pace until security is handed over to Afghan authorities in 2014. Afghan president Hamid Karzai welcomed US president Barack Obamas move to withdraw 10000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011. Karzai was confident that Afghanistan’s Nato-trained police and army could take control of the country from the forces.
- Syria's President Bashar al-Assad proposed holding of a national dialogue that will recommend sweeping reforms aimed at transforming the political scenario. The Syrian President pledged his commitment to fundamental reforms, including the drafting of a new Constitution. The changes would cover the political arena and would create greater media freedoms.
- The six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) celebrated its 10th anniversary on 15 June 2011 in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, by summing up its achievements and outlining its future direction. The six-nation SCO member states are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. India, Pakistan and Iran are with Observer status in the SCO. Afghanistan was poised to be upgraded from Dialogue Partner to Observer which would give it access to all discussions of importance at the SCO.
The joint declaration of the summit included- establishing an inseparable international security community to guard information security, fighting the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and combating drug trafficking. The adoption of Astana Declaration gave the SCO member states a chance to review their progress so far and map out the way ahead.
- The member States of the ILO meet annually at the International Labour Conference, held in Geneva, Switzerland. Each Member State is represented by a delegation consisting of two government delegates, an employer delegate, a worker delegate and their respective advisers. This year the International Labour Conference meets on june 1-17 in Geneva for its 100th Session.
- President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, on 5 June 2011 left for Saudi Arabia for medical treatment and thus ended his 33-year rule over the nation. On 3 June 2011 he was injured in a rocket attack by the rival group.It created a political vacuum and a hope for the pro-democracy movement to achieve its objective. But at the same time it will fuel violence in the country because it is divided into armed tribes and to unify them under one command won’t be an easy task.
- Germany announced its decision to phase out it’s all the nuclear plants by 2022.This decision, prompted by Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, will make Germany the first major industrialized nation to go nuclear-free. People of Germany are strongly opposed to nuclear power and took to streets after Fukushima to urge the government to shut down all reactors as soon as possible. Germany (Europe’s largest economy) is determined to replace its nuclear power with renewable energy resources. Energy from wind, solar and hydroelectric power at present produces about 17 percent of the country’s electricity.
- Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly appointed Truong Tan Sang as the communist country’s new president following Vietnam’s 13th National Assembly election. Sang is the ninth president for the country, the first being revered founding father Ho Chi Minh. Sang succeeded Nguyen Minh Triet, who served one term. The role of the president in Vietnam is mostly ceremonial, while the prime minister runs the country’s day-to-day operations.
- Time magazine compiled and published in July 2011 the list 10 wives who were resolute even in troubled times. The Time magazine compiled and published in July 2011 the list of 10 wives who were resolute even in troubled times. India’s 19th centuryqueen Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, who fought the British valiantly in the 1857 war, was listed by the Time magazine in the list. The magazine compiled its list of 10 such women following the much talked about charge by Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi Dang against the man who tried to throw a pie at her husband’s face during the hearing of the phone-hacking scandal. Time Magazine's Top 10 Daredevil wives list is : Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, Wendi Dang Murdoch ,Elin Nordegren, Rani Laksmibai, Eleanor Roosevelt, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, Queen Isabella of Spain, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, June Carter Cash and Melin.
- World Health Organization-sponsored study on Major Depressive Episode (MDE) published in the BMC Medicine journal revealed that Indians are among the worlds most depressed. 9% of people in India reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from what is called Major Depressive Episode (MDE).WHO ranked depression as the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide and projected that by 2020, it will be the second leading cause.
- The World Investment Report 2011 was released by UNCTAD on 26 July 2011. According to the report, India’s position among the top 20 FDI recipients fell to 14th position, from 8th in 2009.The country that saw the maximum FDI inflow in 2010 was the United States at $228 billion. China stood at 2nd position with inflows totalling $106 billion in 2010.The report stated that half of the top 20 host economies for FDI in 2010 were developing and transition economies.
- Russia made an announcement on 22 July 2011 that it built a missile defence shield, which covers two-thirds of the country. The new system is designed to provide protection against missile attacks on Moscow and central Russia. Most of the industry is located in this area. The missile defence system features S-300 and S-400 long-range anti-missiles.The system is likely to become operational by 1 December 2011
- Hina Rabbani Khar from Pakistan People’s Party (PP) on 19 July 2011 became Pakistan’s first woman foreign minister.
- The Libya Contact Group in its fourth meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey on 15 July 2011 declared Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime no longer legitimate. This will potentially free up cash that the rebels fighting Libyan forces urgently need. In addition to the USA, the 32-nation Contact Group on Libya includes members of NATO, the EU and the Arab League. Te Group also formally recognized the main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government until a new authority is created.
- USA announced that it would with hold the 800 million dollars aid to the Pakistan’s military.
- South Sudan became an independent nation on 9th July, ending 50 years of exploitation and discrimination by the mainly Arab dominated north area. Southern Sudan became the 193rd nation of the United Nation. Kenya, which mediated the end of Sudanese civil war between Khartoum and South Sudan People's Liberation Movement and traditionally a strong ally of the South, was among the first countries to recognise Southern Sudan. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and dozens of other world leaders were in attendance under as South Sudan President Salva Kiir hosted the ceremony. For the formation of Southern Sudan as new nation, a referendum took place in Southern Sudan from January 9th to 15th 2011. The 98.8% of the people voted in favour of independence. The black African tribes of South Sudan and the mainly Arab north battled two civil wars over more than five decades, and some 2 million died in the latest war, from 1983-2005.
- People of Morocco (North African country) on 1 July 2011 approved the constitutional reforms which are expected to bring democratic reforms in the country. According to an official estimate, 98 percent of voters on the day of referendum voted to approve the constitutional reforms. King of Morocco, Mohammed VI had announced his proposed reforms in June 2011 according to which his power would be limited while strengthening the prime minister’s office and the parliament. In February 2011, Morocco also experienced pro-democracy demonstrations along with other Arab world nations. But its intensity was less in comparison to nations like Egypt and Tunisia which toppled the rulers there.
- A two-day meeting of foreign ministers of the 46-nation Asia-Europe (ASEM) began on 4 July 2011 in Godollo, Hungary, and ended on 5 July 2011. This was the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting. The summit was chaired on 4 July 2011 by Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief of the European Union (EU) while Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi took over the chair on 5 July 2011. Hungary is the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency. Next Asia-Europe (ASEM) meet will be held in India in 2013, while an ASEM summit will be held in Vientiane, Laos in 2012.
- The Greek Parliament approved the 28 billion euro austerity package aimed at saving the nation from defaulting on its debts. If the austerity package had been rejected, Greece could have run out of money in recent future. Total Greek debt is 340 billion Euros.Greece is heavily in debt and the package is required to win the latest package of a 110 Billion euro loan from the EU (European Union) and IMF. Besides Greece, Ireland and Portugal are other member countries of EU who face similar kind of financial crisis.
- Thailand's Prime Minister-elect, Yingluck Shinawatra, formed a coalition consisting of five parties under the wings of her own Pheu Thai Party following her landslide victory in parliamentary elections in Thailand. The grouping of five constituent parties would have 299 seats in the 500 member new house. With her landslide victory she is poised to become Thailand’s first female prime minister.
- The world's longest sea bridge, spanning 36.48 km across the mouth of the Jiaozhou Bay in eastern Shandong Province, China, opened to traffic, four years after construction started. The 14.8-billion-yuan ($2.3-billion) bridge connects urban Qingdao with the city's less-developed district of Huangdao. Authorities expect the project to boost the development of an industrial zone in Huangdao. Authorities said the bridge would shorten the route between Huangdao and urban Qingdao by 30 km, cutting the travel time down from over 40 minutes to around 20 minutes. Before the project's completion, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge across the bay of Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang Province, was considered the world's longest sea bridge.
- An ancient Angkor temple in north-western Cambodia was reopened to the public following the completion of a decades-long renovation project described as the world's largest puzzle. The restoration of the 11th-century Baphuon monument, one of the country's largest after Angkor Wat, was celebrated with a high-profile ceremony attended by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. The finished project is the result of half a century of painstaking efforts by restorers to take apart the crumbling tower's 300,000 sandstone blocks and then piece them back together.
- Yoshihiko Noda on 29 August 201 appointed as the Japan’s sixth prime minister in five years. He succeeded outgoing Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan who resigned on 26 August 2011 after almost 15 months in office. Japan’s new Prime Minister is faced with the task of rebuilding from the massive March 2011 tsunami that devastated the northeast coast and ending the nuclear crisis it triggered.
- According to the economic intelligence unit’s new Global Liveability Survey, Australian cityMelbourne was found to be the world’s most liveable city, while India’s business capital Mumbai was placed at 116th position. The annual survey assessed living conditions in 140 global cities. Melbourne surpassed Vancouver to become the best city in the world to live. The Canadian capital city, Vancouver had topped the survey since 2002. However, vancouver fell to third place in 2011 behind Vienna which was at the second place. According to the report, India’s commercial hub Mumbai is ranked 116th, one place up from its previous year‘s ranking. In 2010, Mumbai was ranked 117th while Delhi was at 113th position.
- In Libya, rebels overran Muammar Gaddafi's fortified Bab al-Azizya headquarters in Tripoli, marking a symbolic end to his 42-year rule. The defenders had fled, and there was no immediate word on the whereabouts of Gaddafi or his family. They have taken Bab al-Azizya completely. Meanwhile, members of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi say they plan to fly to the capital to start work on forming a new government.
- North Korea agreed to go ahead with international talks on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. North Korea expressed its readiness to impose a moratorium on tests of weapons of mass destruction and resume the stalled six-party talks on its nuclear programme. The six-party talks, suspended in 2008 were announced on 22 July 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, during the ASEAN security forum. ASEAN security forum is only regular international occasion, in which both Koreas participate. The six-party talks were initiated in 2003, after North Korea declared its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The following six nations are part of the six-party talks:Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea),Republic of Korea (South Korea),People's Republic of China, United States of America, Russia, Japan.
- Hurricane Irene, a tropical storm warning extends all the way to the south coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. The National Hurricane Center says Irene will be moving over cooler waters but is still expected to stay a hurricane until landfall again near Long Island, New York. The storm has knocked out power to at least 1.8 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey.
- The opposition group in Yemen elected an umbrella council to take over power fromPresident Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in Riyadh. The umbrella council consists of 143 members and it is named National Council for the Forces of the Peaceful Revolution.The National Council will lead the forces of the revolution, determined to remain there until Ali Abdullah Saleh’s departure. The council groups the parliamentary parties of the Common Forum, which comprises the influential Islamist party Al-Islah (reform), with the young protesters at the forefront of anti-regime protests since January 2011.
- U.S President Barack Obama and the leaders of several major European countries have called for the resignation of the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. It is the first explicit call from the US and its allies for President Assad to step down although Washington previously said Syria would be better off without him. The United States has also ordered the freeze of all Syrian Government assets in the US and a ban on oil imports from Syria. Mr. Assad has come under mounting international pressure to end his violent crackdown on demonstrators.
- The US credit rating was downgraded to AA+ from AAA by Standard and Poor’s on 5 August 2011. This can increase the cost of borrowing for the US and setting off more panic selling in stock markets. This is the first time that Standard and Poor issued a negative outlook on the US government since it started rating the credit-worthiness of railroad bonds in 1860. The rating may be cut to AA within two years if spending reductions are lower than agreed to, interest rates increase or new fiscal pressures result in higher government debt.
- Lobsang Sangay was sworn in as the new Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) of the Tibetan government-in-exile at the central courtyard of Tsuglagkhang, the main temple in Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh). Sangay will have a five-year tenure. Sangay took over as the political head of the Tibet from Dalai Lama who on 10 March 2011 announced his decision to step down as political head of Tibetan government in exile. However, he (Dalai Lama) continues to be the spiritual head of Tibetan government in-exile.
- The U.S Senate on 2 August, passed legislation that heads off an unprecedented US financial default and begins the process of curbing the country's spiraling debt. Both the Senate and House of Representatives, which voted on 1, August, easily adopted the plan that raises the current $14.3 trillion cap on US borrowing, which expires at midnight. In tandem with increasing the borrowing limit, legislators approved more than $2 trillion of budget cuts over the upcoming decade. The administration had said that without the new borrowing authority, the government could not pay all its bills. Administration officials say a default would ensue that would severely damage the global economy.
- India on 22 September 2011 took over the presidency of the G-24 group of 24 developing countries after a gap of 28 years. Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee took over the Presidency of the group from South African finance minister Pravin J Gordhan. Egypt was elected the Vice Chair of the group.
Members of G-24 group are spread equally over Asia, Africa and Latin America. From Asia, the members include Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Iran, the Philippines, Syria and Sri Lanka. There are eight members each from Africa and Latin America. G-24 was established in 1971. It coordinates the position of developing countries on monetary and development issues, particularly issues on the agendas of the IMF and the World Bank. The group was formed to balance the influence of the G-10 economic grouping.
- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on 25 September 2011 granted women the right to voteand run in future municipal elections. In his announcement, the king said that women would also be appointed to the Majlis Al-Shura, a consultative council that advises the monarchy on matters of public policy. Women in Saudi Arabia endure strict gender separation, including a ban against driving. The recent uprisings in the Arab world for the past nine months coupled with sustained demand for women’s rights and a more representative form of government in Saudi Arabia prompted the decision.
- Danish opposition leader Helle Thorning - Schmidt emerged victorious in the elections held on 15 September 2011 and will take over as the Denmark's first female Prime Minister.She belongs to the Social Democrats party. The result ended the center-right government's 10 years in office. Thorning - Schmidt succeeded Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
- India on 17 September 2011 announced support for Libya’s Transitional National Council in the UN. The Union government of India supported the acceptance of credentials of the delegation of the TNC, to attend the 66th session of UN General Assembly in New York. The TNC delegation was headed by its President Mustafa Abdel Jalil. India participated as an observer in the Libyan Contact Group meeting in Istanbul in July 2011. India’s charge d’ affaires to Libya, at present based in Tunis, formally established contact with the TNC mission in Tunis. India recently gave humanitarian assistance of 1 million dollars to Libya.
- India donated 1 million US dollars to the core voluntary budget of UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or UN Women, for the year 2011. Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent UN Representative handed the amount to Michele Bachelet, Under Secretary general and executive director of UN Women on 9 April 2011. India demonstrated its firm support to the promotion of UN efforts in the field of gender equality and the empowerment of women through its contribution. India is presently one of the members of the Executive Board of the UN Women.
- A team of archaeologists has ‘sensationally’ discovered the ruins of a Roman gladiator school on the outskirts of the Austrian capital Vienna. The find is one of the many schools that the Romans built to train the fighters before they got involved in a brutal combat with each other. The group from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna discovered the school, which contains sleeping cells, a bathing area and a training hall with heated floors and a cemetery.
- A new Chair in Contemporary Indian Studies is to be created at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural relations. Chairs focused on Indian studies have been established at some universities in England, but this is the first such Chair in Scotland.
- An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale killed many people in eastern Turkey on 23 October 2011. Approximately, 93 people died in Van province alone and 45 in the Ercis district. The death toll is likely to increase. Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis. The earthquake struck at at a depth of 20 kilometres with its epicentre 16 kilometres north-east of Van in eastern Turkey. It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, also centred north of Van, including two of magnitude 5.6 soon after the quake and one of 6.0. Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines.
- The fifth IBSA (India Brazil South Africa) summit concluded on 18 October 2011 in Pretoria. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the administrative capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital. India, Brazil and South Africa, issued a joint declaration at the end of the summit, which condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. IBSA leaders described terrorism as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. At their summit meeting, the IBSA leaders said the United Nations should play a central role in coordinating international action against terrorism within the framework of the UN Charter and in accordance with the international law.
- The 125th Assembly of the Inter-parliamentary union was held in Bern, Switzerlandfrom 16 October 2011 to 19 October 2011.
- European Union on 11 October 2011 launched a Visa Information System (VIS) for Indians and other non-EU citizens applying for a Schengen visa. It will help prevent fraud and process visa applications faster due to the use of biometrics (fingerprints and a digital facial image). The system will also help in quick and effective exchange of data on short-stay visas among Schengen countries. In addition, the new system will make the verification process of visas a more efficient and secure. It should be noted that Indian citizens need the Schengen visa to visit the 25 countries in the Schengen area in European Union. At present, approximately 13 million Schengen visas are issued every year by the 25 countries of the Schengen area. The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985.
- India took over as the Chairman of United Nations South Asian Regional Commission for tourism. This was announced on 10 October 2011 at the ongoing United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference at Gyeongju in South Korea. The chairmanship of the Commission was with Iran for the last four years. It signifies the confidence of various countries in India and the efforts of the Indian government in the promotion of tourism in the country as well as across the globe in a responsible and sustainable manner to achieve inclusive growth.
- The Justice and Development Party (PJD) won the parliamentary elections in Morocco according to the poll results announced on 27 November 2011. The party is the second Islamist party to win an election after the Arab Spring. Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, recently won the election in that country. The king responded by modifying the constitution to give the next parliament and prime minister more powers and held early elections. Morocco has had a multi-party system since independence in 1956. Morocco is the North African Kingdom. King Mohammed VI is the head of the state.
- Kuwait’s Prime Minister Nasser Mohammad Sheikh al-Ahmad al-Sabah and the Cabinet resigned on 28 November 2011 amid accusations of corruption. Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, accepted the resignation. The opposition accused Sheikh Nasser of transferring public funds into his overseas bank accounts.
- The Arab League imposed a set of sanctions against Syria for its failure to comply with the League mediated peace plan to end violence in the country. These include freezing of financial assets, a halt on dealing with Syria’s central bank and stopping investments and a travel ban on high- ranking officials. The sanctions go into effect immediately. The League also banned financial transactions and trade with the Syrian government. Syrian government is under economic and political pressure to end an eight-month crackdown against demonstrators.
- Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh finally agreed to step down amidst massive public protests. Saleh signed a Gulf co-operation council (GCC) brokered peace Initiative in Riyadh on 22 November 2011 to transfer his power within 30 days to his Vice President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Under the deal, he and his relatives get immunity from prosecution on handing over power to the Vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in 30 days. It will be followed by early presidential elections within 90 days. Yemen has been besieged with violence and protests by the powerful tribals, army dissidents, the opposition and the people who called for the ouster of Saleh on charges of nepotism and corruption. The Gulf mediated Initiative will put an end to a 33-year old reign of one of the longest serving Presidents in the region
- India was elected to the United Nations' Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and returned to this oversight body after a gap of 35 years. India’s five-year term with the body will start from 1 January 2013.
- India defeated China to get a place on the JIU. India had served only once on the JIU, 35 years ago from 1968 to 1977.The JIU is an independent external oversight body of the United Nations system, mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations. It is composed of not more than 11 Inspectors serving for a term of five years.
- The US Army conducted the test flight of Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) from the military's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai located in Hawaiian archipelago. The new weapon is capable of travelling five times the speed of sound. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of the military's programme to develop global strike weapons that would allow the US to strike targets anywhere in the world with conventional weapons in as little as an hour.
- A study published in medical journal Lancet mentioned that India has the highest number of flu-related pneumonia deaths among children. Flu-related pneumonia is also responsible for 28000 to 115000 deaths of children around the globe. The University of Edinburgh with support from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and US Centers conducted the study for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- According to a survey conducted by the City Mayors Foundation, a global think tank on urban affairs, there are 37 Indian cities among the world's 300 fastest growing urban centres. TheIndian city of Ghaziabad is the second fastest growing city in the world. The general parameter used to consider the growth of a city is the rate of its urbanization. According to the report- The Transition to a Predominantly Urban World and its Underpinnings released by International Institute for Environment and Development, eleven cities in India are amongst the 100 fastest growing cities of the world. The 11 cities in the list of 100 fastest growing cities are- Durg – Bhilai, Ghaziabad, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Surat, Asansol, Dhanbad, Visakhapatnam, Faridabad. India is second to only China in this growth race. Beihai in China is the fastest growing city in the world, with a population growth rate of 10.58 per cent, says the survey. The five fastest growing cities in the world are- Beihei (China), Ghaziabad (India), Sana (Yemen), Surat (India) and Kabul (Afghanistan).
- The Arab League on 16 November 2011 confirmed the suspension of Syria from the organisation and decided to impose economic sanctions on the nation in case it refuses to accept an observer mission sent by the former. The league also asked Syria to stop the violence within three-days. The U.N. estimated that more than 3500 people were killed in Syria’s 8-month-old uprising. The Arab League officially called the League of Arab States is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia (Middle East). It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945.
- International conference on the threat from cyber security attacks was held in London .A major international conference on the threat from cyber-security attacks was held in London on 1 November 2011. The conference aims to have nations work together to combat international cyber crime. Representatives of 60 nations gathered to discuss how to deal with the rising levels of cybercrime.
- The 6th G20 (industrialist and developing countries) summit was held in Cannes, France on November 3 and 4, 2011 to discuss key issues in the global economy. Eurozone debt crisis dominated the Summit in Cannes. The other issues discussed in the summit were global imbalances, financial transactions tax, tax evasion and reform of the international monetary system. Agreements made in G20 Cannes Summit The G20 leaders’ affirmed their commitment to work together and took decisions to reinvigorate economic growth. They agreed to create jobs, ensure financial stability, promote social inclusion and make globalization serve the needs of the people. They agreed on an Action plan for Growth and Jobs to address short-term vulnerabilities and strengthen medium-term foundations for growth. An affirmation was made on G20’s commitment to move more rapidly toward more market-determined exchange rate systems and enhance exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying economic fundamentals, avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.
India pitched for a consensus among G-20 nations on sharing of tax and banking information with retrospective effect. India stressed on the fact that the era of banking secrecy laws was over, and it was vital to build a consensus on sharing of past banking data as it would help in investigation of earlier cases of tax evasion. The G20 leaders finally were unable to agree upon a boost to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help distressed countries. Debt-ridden Italy, was seen as the epicenter of the euro crisis, was forced to put its austerity programme under the fund's control.
- Palestine won the membership of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) on 31 October 2011 with 107 votes in favour and 14 votes against. Eighty-one votes were required for approval with 173 UNESCO member delegations present. The USA, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia and the Czech Republic voted against. UNESCO is the first UN agency Palestine has joined as a full member. UNESCO protects historic heritage sites and works to improve world literacy and cultural understanding. Its headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, capital of France. In fact, Palestine is seeking full membership in the UN (United Nations), but USA has threatened that it will veto it unless there is a peace deal with Israel.
- The 17th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit (the heads of states) held in Hithadhoo, Addu, Maldives on 10 November and 11 November 2011. A 20-point Addu Declaration was adopted on 11 November 2011 to forge effective cooperation among the member states in a host of areas including economy, connectivity, climate change and food security. The theme of the 17th SAARC Summit was ‘Building Bridges’. The Summit recognized the importance of bridging differences, creating better understanding and promoting amity and mutually beneficial and comprehensive cooperation in order to promote effective linkages and connectivity for greater movement of people, enhanced investment and trade in the SAARC members region.
- World population crossed seven hundred crores on 31 October. Nargis from India is declared as seven billionth child on earth by United Nations. Nargis was born in Lucknow Monday morning at 7:20 AM. Nargis is the first daughter of Vinita (23 years) and Ajay (25 years) from UP. Russia announced that the 7 billionth child was born in the country’s far East in Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky city. The boy named Alexander, born on the night of Oct 31, was the seven billionth inhabitants on earth. Philippines too declared that a little girl called Danica May Camacho was the world’s 7 billionth baby.
- The Pakistan supreme government ordered “memogate“ scandal on 30 December.
- The leaders of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) nations on 21 December 2011 agreed that the deployment of foreign bases in their territory would be done with the approval of all partners of the defence alliance. The CSTO summit was held in Moscow. CSTO includes Armenia, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
- The Protester was named Time magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year on 14 December 2011.
2011 witnessed unprecedented rise in both peaceful and sometimes violent unrest and dissent from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movement. People across the globe in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya dissented and demanded even when they were answered with tear gas or a hail of bullets. The Mideast was the centerpiece of the year’s protests. US Special Operations Command and overall commander of the secret US mission into Pakistan in May 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden, came in at second place on the Time list. Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei came in at No 3. In 2010, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was named the Person of the Year.
- The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) of Tunisia elected the leader of the party, Council for the Republic (CPR), Moncef Marzouki as the new President of Tunisia on 12 December 2011. He became Tunisia's first elected president since the North African country's revolution sparked the Arab Spring.
- The Government of Canada announced that women who aspire for Canadian citizenship can’t wear burqa or Islamic hijab when they take oath of citizenship.Belgium, France, Australia and Netherlands have also banned women from covering their face in public. The government received complaints from lawmakers and judges that they found it difficult to know whether women who masked their faces were actually reciting the oath or not.
- The US military officially ended its mission in Iraq on 15 December 2011. As per Pentagon statistics, approximately 4487 US soldiers lost their lives in Iraq war in action. Despite the official declaration of ending its mission in Iraq, US military still has 2 bases in Iraq and 4000 troops. While in 2007, there were 505 bases and more than 170000 troops. However, these two military bases will be closed and the final US troops will be withdrawn by 31 December 2011.
- The 34-member cabinet headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa of Yemen's national unity government sworn in to lead a three-month transition period until early polls in February 2012.
- Greek Parliament on 7 December 2011 approved a budget for 2012 pledging tough fiscal goals demanded by European Union partners in return for fresh loans. The austerity budget projects a modest primary surplus excluding interest payments on debt. A broad majority of the parties backing Lucas Papademos' caretaker administration secured the economic blueprint's passage by 258 votes to 41, after the vote concluded. Greek has been relying on loans from other euro zone countries and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) since May 2010. In return, Greece cut salaries and pensions and hike taxes to reduce budget deficits.
- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party has seen sharp drop in parliament elections of Duma from 64 percent in 2007 to 50 percent in 2011. The ruling party won 238 seats out of 450 total number of seats in Duma. This is a decline from 315 seats in 2007 to 238 seats in 2011.
- Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the State Parliament by issuing a decree in the interests of the nation. The Parliament has been dissolved for four times during the last six years by the Emir.