International Current Affairs - 2020

Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon city votes after six decades

Nearly after six decades, residents of Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon city voted for Yangon City Development Committee elections i.e. local municipal elections on 27th December 2014.

This election is considered test for Myanmar as it is undergoing transition from previous military rule towards the democracy since 2011 and ahead of a landmark nationwide elections to be held in November 2015.

Yangon city: It is also known as Rangoon and was previous capital of Myanmar. Now Naypyidaw city is capital of Myanmar as per the country’s 2008 Constitution drafted by Military rule.

Yangon is the Myanmar`s largest city in terms of population and is the most important commercial centre.

Background

This municipal election is only election which is held in Myanmar after 2010 general elections, which was considered as fraudulent and had created widespread accusations of cheating.

2010 general election was also boycotted by main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by Nobel peace prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.

But later 2012 by-elections which were held in few constituencies across the country were considered much freer and allowed the Aung San Suu Kyi to participate in parliament for the first time after she was elected.

But being seen as pro-democracy movement activist in Myanmar she is barred from running for president under the current constitution drafted by military rule in 2008. As this constitution clearly mentions that anyone married to a foreigner or having children of foreign citizen cannot become President of Myanmar.

NATO formally ends its 13 year war in Afghanistan

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has formally ended its war in Afghanistan after 13 years of conflict.

In this regard, a low-key ceremony took place in Kabul (Afghanistan’s capital) in secret and it was held in a sports hall at NATO headquarters.

This ceremony completes the gradual handover of responsibility to maintain peace and security of Afghanistan to its government which at present has 350,000-strong personnel in their forces, who have been in charge of nationwide security since the middle of last year.

From 1st January 2015, joint US-NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission will be replaced by a NATO Training and Support mission.

For this mission about 12,500 foreign troops will stay in Afghanistan. They will  be not directly involved in any combat mission, but will assist and train Afghan army and police forces in their battle against the Taliban.

Summary

ISAF combat mission comes to an end after 13 years of September 11 terror attacks that sparked their invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban-led Government (who had ruled from 1996 until 2001) and fight against terrorism.

In this combat mission 3,485 military had died since it began 2001.