Current Affairs in Short: 30 November 2018

NITI Aayog organises dialogue on health system for New India

• The Indian Government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog organised a conference on "Health Systems for A New India: Building Blocks" on November 30, 2018.
• The event is a part of a series of Development Dialogues that NITI Aayog aims to organise to engage experts, thought leaders and government stakeholders across key avenues of long-term social and economic development.
• The conference featured senior government functionaries and eminent national and international experts in the healthcare space.
• The idea of a health system pertains to integrating existing and future programmes, financing, human resources and policies related to all dimensions of healthcare within the fabric of an all-encompassing, inclusive, long-term and stable system.

UK amends weapons bill to ensure right to possession of kirpans by Sikhs

• The UK government has confirmed an amendment to a new weapons bill going through the Parliament to ensure that it would not impact the right of the British Sikh community to possess and supply kirpans, or religious swords.
• The Offensive Weapons Bill 2018 completed its various readings in the House of Commons and has now moved to the House of Lords for approval.
• The bill involves a new offence of possessing certain offensive weapons in public and places new restrictions on the online sales of bladed articles and corrosive products.
• The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs led a delegation to the UK Home Office in recent weeks to ensure that the kirpan remains exempt when the new bill becomes law.

Maldives Parliament passes motion to repeal age limit of presidential candidacy

• Maldives Parliament has passed a motion with the required three-fourths majority to repeal the age limit of the presidential candidacy.
• The motion, which proposed to repeal the constitutional amendment banning those above 65 years of age from contesting the presidential elections, was passed 72 members voting in its favour in 85-member Majlis.
• The motion states that only those aged 35 and above will be allowed to contest for Presidency.
• The amendment enables Jumhooree Party leader and recently elected Parliament Speaker Qasim Ibrahim to contest future Presidential elections.

Trump cancels meeting with Putin over Ukraine crisis

• US President Donald Trump has cancelled a planned meeting at the G-20 summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Moscow's detention of a group of Ukrainian sailors.
• In a tweet Trump wrote that based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia it was decided that it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel his previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin.
• Prior to this, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had asked NATO members including Germany to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back his country in the standoff with Russia.
• Russia fired on and then seized three Ukrainian ships on November 25, accusing them of illegally entering its waters in the Sea of Azov, in a dramatic spike in tensions between the two nations.

Sri Lankan Tamil MPs back restoring UNF government

• Amidst continuing political uncertainty in Sri Lanka, 14 MPs of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on November 29, 2018 extended their support for the restoration of the government headed by United National Front (UNF), as it existed prior to October 26.
• The MPs belonging to Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), the single largest party in alliance wrote to the President for the appointment of UNF nominee as Prime minister who is able to command the confidence of parliament.
• In a sudden decision last month, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena removed Ranil Wickremasinghe-led UNF from the government and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister of the nation.
• The development assumes significance, as Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an alliance which ITAK is a part of, held the leader of the opposition post during the Wickremsinghe’s government and without its support UNF did not have the majority numbers in 225 member parliament.
• Rajapaksa’s side had earlier claimed that they have the support of 104 MPs against 102 supporting UNF.

US, UK reach post-Brexit aviation agreement

• The United States and the United Kingdom's delegations have wrapped up discussions on a bilateral aviation agreement that would take effect after Brexit, when the existing US- EU agreement will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.
• The US Department of State stated that the bilateral air transport agreement between the two nations will allow the US aviation industry to provide air services without interruption to the UK.
• The agreement also opens all-cargo service opportunities and covers the British overseas territories and crown dependencies.
• The citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016. The exit is expected to happen by late March 2019.

Congo's Ebola outbreak now second-largest in history: WHO

• The World Health Organization has said that Congo's deadly Ebola outbreak is now the second largest in history, behind the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago.
• According to Congo’s health ministry, the total death toll has reached 426, among which 379 are confirmed cases and 47 are probable ones.
• The WHO Emergencies Chief, Dr. Peter Salama has called it "a sad toll". The Chief has predicted that the virus outbreak in northeastern Congo will last at least another six months before it can be contained.

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