Current Affairs Global - 7 December 2013

1. Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first elected black president and a global anti-apartheid icon passed away on early Friday, at his home in the suburb of Houghton in Johannesburg, following a lengthy illness. He was 95. He was the first black South African to hold the office of President from 1994 to 1999, and the first elected in a fully representative multiracial election. He was also known as Madiba in South Africa. He was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his continuous fight to restore peace in South Africa. He was also the recipient of Bharat Ratna and Mahatma Gandhi peace award.

2. International Civil Aviation Day was observed today (7th December) across the world to highlight the importance of civil aviation for social and economic development around the world. The International Civil Aviation Day is aimed at promoting the safety and efficiency of air transportation and to create awareness about the role of International Civil Aviation Organization in air transport. The date marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation at Chicago on same date in1944.

3. The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference was concluded yesterday at Bali, Indonesia. The Ministerial Conference has agreed on the revised draft of Bali Package. This is the first such agreement since the WTO was set up way back in 1995. The trade facilitation agreement reached by the WTO members will help developing countries to reduce transaction cost and improve competitiveness of domestic industry. During the conference, the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to allow countries to provide subsidy on staple food crops without any threat of punitive action.

4. Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu has been re-appointed as the OPCW Director General at the 18th Session of the Conference of State Parties. This will be his second term in the office.  The Director-General called 2013 a truly historical year in his statement during the opening of the conference as the year has witnessed an unprecedented challenge for the OPCW in the form of eliminating Syria-s  chemical weapons in the midst of an active war. The Nobel Committee has also awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW for his continuous struggle in order to destroy chemical weapons across the world.

5. UN General Assembly elected Jordan to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member yesterday to replace Saudi Arabia. Earlier Saudi Arabia was elected in October 2013 to the Security Council as a non permanent member but it has rejected its seat in protest at the UN council's failure to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues. Jordan will now join with Lithuania, Chile, Nigeria and Chad as new members of the council, replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Pakistan, Morocco and Togo. The other five temporary council members that will remain next year are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda.

6. Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize, an honour previously given to icons like late Nelson Mandela in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights. The prize is awarded every five years and has previously been bestowed on Amnesty International and former US president Jimmy Carter.

7. The US unemployment rate dropped to 7% in November compared to 7.3% in October, as per the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. The jobless rate was the lowest since November 2008, when the US economy face the Wall Street meltdown and collapsing housing market, amid the worst recession in eight decades. The bureau-s separate survey of employers showed that payrolls grew by 203,000 jobs in November, led by hiring in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

8. FIFA, the international football body, has awarded India the rights to host the Under-17 World Cup in 2017. The country beat stiff competition from Ireland, 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa and Uzbekistan to get the final nod from FIFAs executive committee at the resort town of Costa Do Sauipe in Brazil. The tournament will be played at six venues. Among the cities in the fray to host the games are Mumbai, New Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati.