Cluster ammunition treaty comes into force
A landmark UN-sponsored treaty
banning cluster munitions came into force from August 1, 2010, but all major
powers, the US, China, Russia, Israel and India have shunned it. The new
instrument is expected to be a major advance for global disarmament and
The convention has been signed by 107 States and entered into force six months
after 37 countries ratified the treaty, which was concluded in 2008.
Cluster bombs are both air dropped and used by artillery guns, and the shells
open before impact and scatter hundreds of shrapnel, causing widespread
casualties over a wide area. Many of such ammunition fail to explode and lie
dormant for years killing or maiming hundreds of civilians, long after the
conflicts have ended.
From Asia only five countries—Afghanistan, Indonesia, Japan, Laos and
Philippines—are the signatories.
Global community commits to peace initiative in Afghanistan
An international conference on Afghanistan was held on July 20, 2010 in Kabul,
Afghanistan. The international community reiterated its commitment to continue
to support peace and reintegration and said it looked forward to the local peace
jirgas that included men and women at district and provincial level to
discuss elements of an enduring peace.
The government of Afghanistan is to engage with the UN Security Council and the
international community for de-listing Taliban elements from the sanctions list
in accordance with agreed procedures and common Afghan and international
The international community expressed its support for Karzai’s objective that
the Afghan national security forces should lead and conduct military operations
in all the provinces by the end of 2014.
On the issue of security, the meeting recognised that civilian casualty and
protection of civilians are of great concern and noted that most civilian
casualties are caused by insurgent attacks. They also reiterated that the
international military forces remain committed to the objective of a steady
reduction in the rate of civilian casualties.
Kyrgyzstan vote for parliamentary democracy
In a development that could have far reaching political impact in the region,
Kyrgyzstan is all set to become Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy,
with an overwhelming 90.55 per cent voters backing a new constitution which
strips the President’s wide ranging powers.
After publishing the official results of the June 27 referendum, the Kyrgyz
Central Election Commission (CEC), on July 1, 2010, declared Roza Otunbayeva as
the transitional President till December 31, 2011.
It also formally dissolved the Presidential parliament, which was in jeopardy in
the wake of violent ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s regime in April
In line with the new constitution, the 120-strong Kyrgyz Parliament, after
October 2010 elections, will appoint the Prime Minister and the government.
The referendum, the first step towards legitimacy of the present regime, took
place in the midst of inter-ethnic violence in the southern regions of Osh and
Jalalabad and exodus of hundreds of thousand refugees to neighbouring
Fresh US sanctions on North Korea
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on july 21, 2010 that Washington
would impose new sanctions on communist North Korea in a bid to stem the
regime's illicit atomic ambitions.
The UN Security Council has imposed stiff sanctions on North Korea in recent
years to punish the regime for defying the world body by testing nuclear weapons
and long-range missiles, and illegally selling arms and weapons.
With few allies and diminishing sources of aid, the impoverished North Korea is
believed to be turning to illicit ventures to raise the much-needed cash.
Pyongyang also walked away in 2009 from a disarmament-for-aid pact with five
other nations that had provided the country with fuel oil and other concessions.
Pakistan, China ink six pacts
Pakistan and China reiterated their resolve to further strengthen strategic
relationship between the two countries, increase the level of economic
cooperation and take concrete measures to further bring their people closer,
during the visit of Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari to China in July 2010.
The two countries pledged to make joint efforts to fight terrorism, and signed
six deals of cooperation in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, justice,
media, economy and technology.
US slaps toughest sanctions on Iran
On July 1, 2010, even as he signed into law the toughest sanctions against ever
passed by the US Congress at the White House, US President Barack Obama said the
doors of diplomacy are still open for the regime in Tehran.
The Iran Sanctions Act affects the gasoline, financial, insurance and shipping
sectors, among others, as it seeks to impose a heavy economic cost on Iran for
continuing with its nuclear programme.
The sanctions bar foreign countries from exporting refined petroleum to Iran, as
well as restrict access to US financial institutions for any entities that help
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Also, it prevents investment, transfer of technology and development of Iran’s
energy sector, and makes it easier for States and localities to divest from
companies that do business with Iran.
Democratic Party of Japan suffered a heavy blow in the elections for the upper
house of Japan’s Diet (parliament) when it won ten seats fewer than expected
thus loosing its majority. DPJ will now have to look for new coalition partners
to restore its majority in the upper house and enable it to easily pass laws
through the Diet legislature. After breaking the 55 year period of dominance of
the Liberal Democratic Party and naming Naoto Kan the new prime minister just a
month back the results have baffled the DJP.
July 15th Summit, Islamabad
talks between Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna and the Pakistani counterpart
Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s have once again proved that whenever efforts were
initiated by India to improve the relations between the two countries. The Pak
leaders and officials took deliberate steps to derail the process conveying a
clear message to India that the talks can continue only on its terms.
Gulf of Spill
three months after the April 20 explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon
oil platform, which killed 11 workers and sank the rig gushing oil into the Gulf
of Mexico, the most severe US environmental disaster ever is close to coming to
an end. In an operation called “static kill” 2,300 barrels of mud was forced
down into the well’s opening overnight pushing the crude back down to its
source. A cap over the wellhead has shut in leaking oil since July 15 and the
static kill — also known as bull heading — probably would not have worked
without the cap in place.
President of Sudan has been charged with three counts of genocide over the
Darfur Conflict, he was convicted by the International Criminal Court at The
Hague. It is for the first time that a court has accused anyone of genocide.
Jacob Lew the new Budget Director
Barack Obama has chosen Mr. Jacob Lew as his new budget director. This is Mr.
Lews second stint with the federal budget.