International Current Affairs February 2017
France Raised ‘Terror Tax’ to Support Victims of Attacks
- French citizens contributed an extra € 1.60 ($ 1.67) on their property insurance policies to help finance a fund for victims of the extremist attacks on December 31, 2016.
- French government officials revealed the scheme that about 90 million insurance policies are floating the fund, which currently has reserves of € 1.45 billion.
- More than 200 people have died in France in attacks over the last 20 months. The Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that left 86 dead this summer costed between € 300 and € 400 million, approximatively the same as the November 13 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.
China Operationalised World’s Longest Bullet Train Line
- China started operations of one of the world’s longest high-speed railways that links the country’s prosperous eastern coast to the less-developed South-western part of the country on December 28, 2016.
- The Shanghai-Kunming line (2252 km in length) traverses the five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan and cuts travel time from Shanghai to Kunming from 34 to 11 hours.
- A longer rail line stretching North to South is the 2298 km Beijing-Guangzhou line, put into operation in 2012. China has built more than 20000 km of high-speed rail lines.
Russian Jet Crashed into Black Sea
- A Russian passenger plane with 92 people aboard, including a well-known military band, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on December 26, 2016.
- The Tu-154 is a Soviet-built three-engine airliner designed in the late 1960s. More than 1000 have been built, and they have been used extensively by carriers in Russia and worldwide.
- The Tu-154, which belonged to the Defense Ministry, was taking the Alexandrov choir to a concert at the Russian airbase in Syria.
UNSC Passed Resolution Demanding End to Israeli Settlement
- The UN Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution demanding Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory on December 23, 2016.
- The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal.
- It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.
UK and Argentina Signed Deal to Identify Dead
- The UK and Argentina signed a deal to identify 123 Argentine soldiers buried on the Falkland Islands on December 21, 2016.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross has been negotiating an agreement on taking DNA samples from the remains of men who died in the 1982 conflict.
- Tensions between Britain and Argentina over the Falklands had flared-up under former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
UNSC Approved Resolution on Aleppo
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved a resolution to deploy UN observers to the Syrian city of Aleppo on December 20, 2016.
- The resolution adopted resolution calls for the United Nations and other institutions to monitor evacuations from eastern Aleppo and demands that UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon urgently consult Syria and other parties on security and arrangements for the immediate deployment of the monitors.
- The resolution also demands that all parties allow unconditional and immediate access for the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid and medical care, and respect and protect all civilians across Aleppo and throughout Syria.
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