International Current Affairs May 2017
Israel Approved First New West Bank Settlement in Two Decades
- Israel’s government on March 30, 2017 approved the first West Bank settlement in two decades, creating the first serious test for US President Donald Trump’s new foray into Middle East peacemaking.
- New settlement would be built near the existing settlement of Shilo, which is nearby to the Amona site.
- The government had approved tenders to build 2000 new apartments from previously approved settlement projects.
- The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas captured by Israel in 1967, as parts of a future State.
- Over 600000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But, Israel has not built a full-fledged new settlement since the 1990s. Instead, construction during that period has expanded existing settlements or taken place in unauthorised outposts like Amona.
Myanmar became SASEC’s Newest Member
- Myanmar became the seventh member of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partnership, opening up new markets and supply chain links for trade and business between South Asia and South-East Asia on March 31, 2017.
- SASEC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) coordinate the planning of projects and activities to increase economic growth by building transport connectivity, facilitating faster and more efficient trade, and promoting cross-border power trade.
- Myanmar’s membership in SASEC can offer a host of opportunities for realising synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion. Road corridors in Myanmar provide the key links between South Asia and South-East Asia, while ports in the country can.provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.
Pakistan began Building Fence along Afghan Border
- Pakistan began building a fence along the Afghan border in territories where it says activists have propelled cross-border assaults on security posts in recent weeks on March 27, 2017.
- The two nations share a 2400 km (1500 mi) border known as the Durand Line, which was drawn amid frontier times and is not perceived by the Afghan government.
- Building a fence along he debated border could additionally elevate prtes between the two countries, which have since a leu ie ago blamed each other for turning a visually impaired eye to Islamic militants working along the permeable wilderness.
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Hawaii becajne First State to Sue over Trump’s New Travel Ban
- Attorneys for the State filed the lawsuit in Federal Court in Honolulu on March 8, 2017. The State had previously sued over US President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country.
- The revised executive order bars new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily shuts down the US refugee programme. It doesn’t apply to travelers who already have visas. Hawaii is special in that It has always been non-discriminatory in both its history and Constitution.
Ukraine Reached Preliminary Agreement with IMF
- The International Monetary Fund -(IMF) reached a preliminary agreement with Ukraine that could see the war-scarred and cashed-starved nation receive fresh aid in the first half of the year on March 5, 2017.
- This paves the way for consideration of the third review of the arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) by the IMF’s Executive Board. The IMF’s board usually follows through with such preliminary agreements and disburses aid once all the details have been hashed out.
Pakistan Government Approved Merger of FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- Pakistan government approved the merger of Federally Aominlstered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province to bring the impoverished and politically deprived tribal region at par with the rest of the country on March 3, 2017.
- The six-member committee headed by Prime Minister’s Adviser Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz recommended that FATA should b^ made part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
- The FATA) is a semi-autonomous tribal region in North-West Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. It consist of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and are directly governed by Pakistan’s federal government.
- According tb the plan, colonial era draconian laws known as Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) wiU be replaced.
13th Economic Cooperation Organisation Summit Held
- The 13th Economic Cooperation Organisation Summit held in Islamabad (Pakistan) on March 2, 3017. The theme of ECO Summit is ‘Connectivity for Regional Prosperity’.
- The summit deliberated and decided on ways and means to augment cooperation in the areas of connectivity, trade, energy, tourism) investment, industry, economic growth, productivity, social welfare and environment.
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