International bulletin: World news of the week

by Shatakshi Gupta
  • On Sunday, the 95th Academy Awards were held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once won seven awards on its own. This year’s Academy Awards saw a record number of Asian artists nominated for acting awards. India also had a historic night after a breakout hit song from the action film RRR and a short documentary, The Elephant Whisperers, won the Academy Awards. The Oscars have given gift bags to people whose films were nominated but did not win. It is priced at Rs 1.03 crore. This bag contains skin care products, travel pillows, food company gifts, books, scarves, and perfumes.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with war crimes committed in Ukraine. According to the court, Putin is responsible for the kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children. According to the ICC, the children were forcibly removed from Ukraine’s territory. According to the report, the court has also issued a warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Child Rights Commissioner, on the same charges. Human rights organisations applauded the court’s decision.
  • Lender with a focus on startups Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis, in a sudden collapse that devastated global markets and left billions of dollars stranded in the hands of businesses and investors. The failure of Silicon Valley Bank, America’s 16th largest bank, prompted a government takeover and raised concerns about the fate of nearly $175 billion in customer deposits. Signature Bank, the 29th largest bank in the United States, also declared bankruptcy, indicating that the financial crisis had spread.
  • In the Gulf of Oman, Russia, China, and Iran are conducting joint naval exercises. Regarding this exercise, which will run from March 15-19, the Defense Ministry of China said – This exercise will work to increase cooperation between the navies of the three countries. It will also aid in the establishment of peace and stability in the region. Many other countries will take part in the joint exercise under the Security Bond-2023, according to China. However, no country’s name has been revealed in this. The Gulf of Oman’s shores include Iran, Pakistan, Oman, and the UAE, which is very close to the Persian Gulf.
  • Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted, spewing smoke and ash into nearby villages. According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, there are no immediate reports of casualties. Images circulated of ash-covered houses and streets in a Yogyakarta village near the volcano. The volcano’s most recent major eruption in 2010 killed over 300 people and forced the evacuation of 280,000 people. It was Merapi’s most powerful eruption since 1930, when approximately 1,300 people died. In 1994, an explosion killed approximately 60 people. After showing renewed activity, the volcano’s alert status has remained at its second highest level since 2020.
  • According to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), India is the world’s largest arms importer. According to the report, India’s arms purchases decreased by 11% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, despite the fact that India remains the largest buyer of arms. In the last five years, India alone purchased 11% of all weapons purchased in the world. Saudi Arabia (9.6 percent) is second in terms of purchases. Following them are Qatar (6.4%), Australia (4.7%), and China (4.7%).

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  • Cyclone Freddy killed over 400 people in three African countries: Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar. At the same time, approximately 700 people were injured. According to media reports, rains, floods, and mudslides have displaced approximately 88,000 people. On Thursday, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera paid a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to meet with flood victims. During this time, he has declared 14 days of national mourning across the country.
  • Protests during the Fire Festival (Chaharshanbe Suri) in Iran killed 11 people and injured around 3,550.  Anti-government protests once again took place in Iran during this festival before the Persian New Year.  About 27 people have been killed so far in this ongoing demonstration since February 20. During a demonstration against the Iranian government, people threw firecrackers and small homemade bombs at police. Along with this, slogans were raised against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian government. On the occasion of Chaharshambe Suri, demonstrations have been announced for 3 days in several cities including Tehran, the capital of Iran.
  • According to the Swiss firm IQAir’s ‘World Air Quality Report,’ India was the eighth most polluted country in the world in 2022, up from fifth place last year. India has 39 out of 50 cities on the list of the world’s most polluted cities. The top ten most polluted countries are Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kuwait, India, Egypt, and Tajikistan, while Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, and New Zealand meet the World Health Organization (WHO) PM25 guideline. More than 30,000 ground-based monitors provided data for 131 countries.

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  • The courts increased the pressure on Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan. On Thursday, Khan suffered two major setbacks. First, the Islamabad High Court ordered Khan to surrender in court if he did not want to be arrested by police. Second, the Islamabad Sessions Court stated that the Toshakhana case is extremely serious. Imran’s arrest warrant cannot be revoked in any way. So far, a total of 80 cases have been filed against Khan. Khan is accused of buying low-cost gifts and reselling them at a higher cost in Toshakhana. In this regard, the Pakistan Election Commission has declared him ineligible for 5 years. His membership in the legislature has also been revoked.