International Current Affairs 2018

Latest International Current Affairs 2018 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2018. A PDF compilation of latest 300 updates can be downloaded from This Link

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Yellow Vests Protests

The protestors are referred to as Yellow Vests because they don the “Gilets Jaunes” (yellow vests), which the French drivers are required to carry in their cars. It is a leaderless movement which no reported structure or leadership to the movement.

Why are they protesting?

Though there is no consensus on the French media about why the yellow vests are protesting. Some report that the protesters are primarily angry about what they see as President Emmanuel Macron’s apparent indifference toward tough conditions for working people and for others the movement is evidence of a middle-class backlash. The increase of the taxes on the fuel provided an opportunity for the anger to outburst.

France Go Green Policy

The tax imposed by the government of France was in line with the pro-Green agenda espoused by Macron’s government. The government of France had already pledged to ban all gasoline-fueled cars by 2040.

Is this an anti-green movement?

US President Trump has linked the protests in France with Paris Climate deal. He said the protests are due to France’s commitment to the expensive and ridiculous Paris Climate deal. But the movement has avoided any explicit anti-Green stance and the Fuel taxes in France are not the highest in Europe and are actually lower than Germany.

The workers feel they are squeezed by the government as only 20 per cent of the tax actually goes toward supporting the country’s transition to cleaner energy.

The protestors see government as too technocratic and favouring the rich, ignoring the plight of the worker and the middle class. The rallying cry also includes an immediate increase in the minimum wage and pension benefits.

France U-turn on Tax Hike

The government of France has bowed down to the pressure and has suspended the proposed tax hike for six months. The government has even announced an immediate freeze on gas and electricity price.

The announcements have failed to satisfy the protestor’s anger. They have vowed to continue their protest campaign dismissing the steps taken by the government as insufficient.

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Macedonia renamed as the Republic of Northern Macedonia

The Parliament of Macedonia has passed the resolution to amend the constitution of the country to rename it as the Republic of Northern Macedonia. The opposition parties had boycotted the vote and the proposal narrowly got the two-thirds majority vote required for the constitutional amendment.

The renaming is in line with a landmark agreement with Greece to end a decades-long dispute.

Dispute between Macedonia and Greece

The use of the name “Macedonia” was disputed between the European countries of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, formerly a state within Yugoslavia. After the declaration of independence of Macedonia from erstwhile Yugoslavia, the country named it as the Republic of Macedonia.

The dispute was mainly due to the ambiguity in nomenclature between the Republic of Macedonia, the adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Greece opposed the use of the name “Macedonia” by the Republic of Macedonia without a geographical qualifier such as “Northern Macedonia.

Greece accused the Republic of Macedonia of appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered part of Greek culture such as the Vergina Sun and Alexander the Great, and of promoting the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia, which involves territorial claims on Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.

Due to the conflict over the name, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s attempt to join Nato in 2008 and even blocked its EU membership ambitions. The opposition of Greece was so fierce that the United Nations was forced to refer Macedonia as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Agreement with Greece

After a lot of negotiations, an agreement was reached between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev. The agreement is famously referred to as the Prespa Agreement.

As per the agreement the Republic of Macedonia would be renamed as the Republic of North Macedonia. The language of the country would be referred to as Macedonian and its people known as Macedonians (citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia).

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