international - 2015 April

April 1

Israel applies to join China-backed AIIB investment bank.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed a letter of application for Israel to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
More than 40 countries, including Australia, South Korea, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, have said they would sign up to the AIIB, with Japan and the United States the two notable absentees.
China set a March 31 deadline to become a founding member of the AIIB, an institution that could enhance Beijing’s regional and global influence.
The new bank plans to invest $100 billion in infrastructure projects in Asian countries. Half of that amount has already been budgeted by China.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank formed on 24 October 2014 as headquarters in Beijing, China and Secretary general is Jin Liqun.
Egypt and Nigeria led rise in death sentences in 2014.
Egypt and Nigeria accounted for well over 1,000 of the death sentences announced last year, more than a third of the world’s total, Amnesty International says in its latest annual report on the death penalty.
The London-based human rights group expressed alarm at the 28 percent jump in death sentences people in 55 countries were condemned to death in 2014. At least 607 people were executed in 22 countries last year.
The Dui Hua Foundation, a U.S.-based prison research group, has estimated 2,400 executions happened in China for 2014.
The overall number of global executions last year dropped almost 22 percent from 2013.
Palestinian Authority becomes member of international criminal court.
The Palestinian Authority completed its journey to formal membership of international criminal court following a low-key ceremony at the Hague headquarters of the global institution of last resort.
The move could open the way for Israelis to be prosecuted for war crimes - despite Israel not being a member - and it also allows the prosecution of Palestinian militants, including those from Hamas.
With this Palestine had become the 123rd member country.
Mahmoud Abbas was the president of the Palestine.

April 2

Yemen's rebels capture presidential palace in Aden.
Yemeni security officials said Shia rebels and their allies have captured the presidential palace in Aden.
The palace was President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s last seat of power before he fled to Saudi Arabia last month amid the Houthi advance.
About conflict:
The main fight is between forces loyal to the beleaguered President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and those allied to Zaidi Shia rebels known as Houthis, who forced Mr Hadi to flee the capital Sanaa in February.
The Houthis are followers of the Shia Zaidi sect, the faith of around a third of Yemen’s population.
Officially known as Ansarallah (the partisans of God), the group began as a movement preaching tolerance and peace in the Zaidi stronghold of North Yemen in the early 1990s.
Iraq declares victory over ISIS in Tikrit.
Iraq declared a “magnificent victory” over the Islamic State group in Tikrit, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.
Extremists from IS seized Tikrit last summer during its advance across northern and western Iraq.
The battle for Tikrit is seen as a key step toward eventually driving the militants out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the provincial capital of Nineveh.
Recapturing Tikrit would be the biggest win so far for Baghdad’s Shia-led government.

April 3

Iran, Six world powers reach framework for nuclear deal.
The United States, Iran and five other world powers announced an understanding outlining limits on Iran’s nuclear programme so it cannot lead to atomic weapons, directing negotiators toward achieving a comprehensive agreement within three months.
The tentative agreement, after eight days of marathon talks in Switzerland, clears the way for talks on the future settlement that should allay Western fears that Iran was seeking to build an atomic bomb and in return lift economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The framework is contingent on reaching an agreement by June 30.
About Iran:
President: Hassan Rouhani.
Capital: Tehran.
Currency: Iranian rial.
French Parliament moves to ban ultra-thin models.
France’s lower house of Parliament has approved a measure that would make it a crime to use anorexic models. Other countries including Israel and Spain have also cracked down on the glorification of dangerously thin models.
Lawmakers adopted the amendment, as part of a larger public health bill working its way through the legislature.
Up to an estimated 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France, 90 per cent of them women.
About France:
President: Francois Hollande.
Prime Minister: Manuel Valls.
Capital: Paris.
Currency: Euro.

April 4

Yoga doesn't bend rules on religious freedom: U.S. court.
A California appeals court has ruled that yoga taught in San Diego County schools doesn't violate religious freedom.
The 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court ruling that rejected a lawsuit by parents who tried to block Encinitas schools from teaching yoga.
Yoga is now taught at schools across the country, though it is often part of an after-school programme.
India hails Iran nuclear deal as triumph of diplomacy.
India hailed the agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group - U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany - on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
According to the draft agreement released by U.S. officials, Iran will reduce the number of installed centrifuges by two-third, bring uranium stocks down from 10,000 kg to 300 kg LEU.
India and Iran have an annual bilateral trade of about $14 billion, with an extremely high balance of trade problem, as India has been unable to pay Iran about $8.8 billion for oil due to sanctions.

April 5

Palestinian camp under jihadists’ control.
Thousands of Palestinian civilians are trapped in Syria’s Yarmuk camp, which is besieged by government forces and has been largely overrun by jihadist fighters.
The camp in Damascus is now almost completely under the control of the Islamic State group (IS) and Al-Qaeda’s local branch Al-Nusra Front.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA issued an urgent plea for humanitarian access to the area, saying the situation in Yarmuk was a “source of universal shame”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said jihadist forces now controlled 90 per cent of Yarmuk, which was once home to 160,000 people, both Syrian and Palestinian.

April 6

Pakistan debates military involvement in Yemen.
Pakistan said that its close ally Saudi Arabia has asked for ground troops, warships and fighter planes to oust the Shia rebels in war-torn Yemen as lawmakers debate whether the country should join the conflict which has sectarian and domestic implications.
The special joint session of parliament has been convened as pressure is mounting on Islamabad to act swiftly in support of Riyadh.
Pakistan has called for a negotiated settlement to the crisis as it is wary of getting involved in any conflict that would inflame sectarian tensions among its own sizeable Shia population.

April 8

U.S. to provide 1000 hellfire missiles to Pakistan.
U.S. is soon going to provide Pakistan with 1000 Hellfire missiles, along with associated equipments, parts, training and logistical support including attack helicopters and communications technology for an estimated cost of $952 million.
This week the Petagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency said that the State Department had approved a “possible” Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters and AGM-114R Hellfire II Missiles along with the additional defence supplies.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to improve the security of a country vital to U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia.
The DSCA however emphasised that that the U.S. weapon deliveries were solely intended to ''provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia… [and] will not alter the basic military balance in the region''.
About Pakistan:
Capital: Islamabad.
President: Mamnoon Hussain.
Prime Minister: Nawaz Sharif.
Currency: Pakistan rupee.
US to conduct lottery system for H1-B visas after hitting cap in 5 days.
The U.S. said it has reached the cap for the H-1B work visas for 2016 within the first five days for the third consecutive year and will now conduct a lottery system to allocate the visas highly popular among IT professionals from countries like India.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has reached the congressionally-mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year 2016, besides receiving more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will now use the computer-generated process to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.
The agency will first randomly select petitions for 20,000 visas allocated to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. All unselected advanced degree petitions will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general limit.
About H-1B cap visa:
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the U.S.
The regulations define a "specialty occupation" as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent as a minimum.
U.S's Kansas Becomes First State to Ban Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure.
Kansas became the first state to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a foetus.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent, signed a bill imposing the ban, and the new law takes effect July 1. Already, the measure also has been introduced in Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
This law has the power to transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States.
PM Narendra Modi alongwith German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open Hannover Messe 2015.
As Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, is gearing up to receive the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi for the grand opening ceremony.
Its participation in Hannover Messe 2015 has been engineered to amplify its clarion call to the world - ‘Make in India’.
Depicting India as a design, innovation, manufacturing and export hub, India Pavilion will be jointly inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India and the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
The pavilion’s design strategy is centered on portraying the economic potential of the country’s most fertile sectors—biotechnology, renewable energy, space, IT & BPM, industrial corridors and smart cities, wellness, and the demographic dividend it aims to reap.
About Hannover Messe 2015:
The Hannover Messe is the world's biggest industrial fair. It is held on the Hanover fairground in Hanover, Germany. Typically, there are about 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors.
The Hannover Messe started in 1947 in an undamaged factory building in Laatzen, south of Hanover, by an arrangement of the British military government in order to boost the economic advancement of post-war Germany.

April 9

French TV network TV5 Monde hacked by group claiming ISIS ties.
French television network TV5 Monde has been hacked by people claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The hackers briefly cut transmission of 11 channels belonging to the TV network and took over its websites and social media accounts.
The message on the TV5 Monde website read in part “I am IS” with a banner by a group that called itself Cyber caliphate.
The Islamic extremist group has claimed complex hackings before, but the seizure of the French network appeared to be a new step in its information warfare tactics.
The director of the TV 5 channels network is Yves Bigot.
About TV5 Monde:
TV5 Monde (formerly known as TV5) is a global television network, broadcasting several channels of French language programming.
It is an approved participant member of the European Broadcasting Union.
Formed in 2 January 1984 and headquarters in Paris, France.
About France
Capital: Paris.
President: François Hollande.
Prime minister: Manuel Valls.
Currency: Euro.
India elected to four key subsidiary bodies of the United Nations Agency on Economic and Social Issues.
India was elected by acclamation, a form of election that does not use a ballot, to the subsidiary bodies of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) during its coordination and management meeting.
With the election wins, India maintained its 100 per cent record of winning elections held in the United Nations Headquarters.
It was elected, along with 13 other nations, to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for a three-year term beginning January 2016.
India was also re-elected to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme for the 2016-2018 term along with five other nations. WFP is the food assistance arm of the UN which provides food assistance to around 90 million people in 80 countries in a year.
It was among the 20 nations to be elected to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) for a three-year term, beginning January 2016. Apart from India, other nations elected to CCPCJ include Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia Austria, France, Sweden and the United States.
India also got re-elected to the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for the term 2016-2019.
About United Nations Organization:
The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization established 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation.
A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict.
At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.
The headquarters of the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York City.
Secretary General of the United Nations is Ban Ki-Moon.

April 10

PM Narendra Modi starts his three nation tour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in France on the first leg of his three-nation tour during which he will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande and meet business leaders.
During his four-day stay, Mr. Modi will hold talks with Mr. Hollande and meet business leaders. The focus of the talks will be civil nuclear, defence and trade.
A highlight of his stay in France will be a boat ride with Hollande, which is being described as ‘naav pe charcha’ (chat on boat).
After wrapping up the first leg of his tour, Modi will head to Germany, where business and technology will be the focus his engagements aimed at attracting participation in the ‘Make in India’ campaign.
In the third and last leg of his tour, Mr. Modi will travel to Canada, marking the first standalone visit by an Indian Prime Minister in over 42 years.









François Hollande

Joachim Gauck


Prime Minister

Manuel Valls


Stephen Harper




Canadian dollar

Nepal seeks support from India for development of Cricket.
A 50-member Nepalese youth delegation led by Minister of Youth and Sports Shri Purushottam Poudel concluded its visit to India.
The maiden visit of the youth delegation from Nepal was part of Youth Exchange programme between India and Nepal.
The visiting Minister from Nepal Shri Purushottam Poudel expressed his desire for exchange of sportspersons particularly from cricket.
About Nepal:
Capital: Kathmandu.
President: Ram Baran Yadav.
Prime Minister: Sushil Koirala.
Currency: Nepalese rupee.

April 11

Indian PM Modi eyes uranium supply deal with Canada.
Canada’s biggest uranium producer is in advanced talks with India on a deal to supply the country of 1.2 billion with fuel for nuclear power plants as Ottawa prepares to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr. Modi has made it clear that obtaining a commercial supply of uranium from Canada’s Cameco Corp.
Canada banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India in the 1970s after New Delhi used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb.
The two countries turned the page with a deal that took effect in 2013. The highly symbolic Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement demonstrates that Canada no longer considers India a pariah for what it did in the 1970s.
Narendra Modi orders 36 Rafale jets, signs 17 agreements with France.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Indian government will purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from of Dassault Aviation SA of France after years of disputing over the deal.
An agreement on proceeding forward on the stalled nuclear project in Jaitapur in Maharashtra was among the 17 pacts signed after talks were held between Modi and Hollande.
The Jaitapur project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, stuck for long because of differences over the cost of electricity to be generated.
The 17 agreements are:
It is aimed at cost reduction by increasing localization, to improve the financial viability of Jaitapur project. It will also enable transfer of technology and development of indigenous nuclear energy industry in India.
Pre-engineering agreements between NPCIL and Areva.
MoU between ISRO and CNES on Megha Tropiques.
'MOU between ISRO, CNES and ONERA for Ka-band propagation experiment over Indian tropical region'.
Programme between ISRO and French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
MoU on Cooperation between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and French Ministry of Sports, Youth Affairs, Public Education and Community Life.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of renewable energy between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Government of France.
Railway protocol between Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways (SNCF).
Guarantee Agreement with AFD Financing of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
Administrative Arrangement in the field of Cultural Heritage.
Letter of Intent on Tourism.
Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP).
MOU between School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and National Architecture Institute in Paris, France.
MoU between Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation (IHCN) and Association Nationale des Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire et villes a secteurs sauvegardés et protégés ('ANVPAH').
Proposal for twinning of historical monuments.
VIE scheme to allow Indian students in France and French students in India to stay for a period of 24 months.
Letter of Intent on Ayurveda between Ministry of Ayush and University of Strasbourg.

April 12

Iran's state TV social media accounts hacked.
Iran's Arabic-language state TV network Al Alam said its Twitter account had been hacked and a false report was posted that an Iran-allied rebel leader in Yemen had died.
Al Alam has covered the crisis in Yemen since Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes against the Shi'ite Houthi movement this month.
The false news on Houthi leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi's death was tweeted by Al Alam's account and several later posts published contact information for the channel's reporters around the region.

April 13

Black money: U.N. meet endorses India’s concern.
In a major push towards recovering black money stashed in safe havens abroad, a U.N. conference endorsed India’s suggestions on promoting global cooperation in fighting the menace of money-laundering, international terrorism and cyber crime.
The 13th U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was held here and a Doha Declaration was adopted during the high-level segment of the meeting.
Following up on G20’s endorsement of concerns raised by it on black money, India put immense importance on the acceptance of a statement that will facilitate the eventual confiscation of “money and other assets that have not been accounted for and that are found in safe havens” and succeeded in getting adopted measures that can help achieve the goal.
A clause in the declaration prominently took care of the concern that the Indian government has been emphasising recently at all possible forums. Minister of Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda, led a high-level delegation to the Congress.
Modi inaugurates German industrial fair.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the Hanover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
India is the partner country of this year’s trade fair, which brings together about 6,500 exhibitors from 70 nations.
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe and total bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at 16.08 billion euro (17 billion dollars) in 2013.
There are currently more than 1,600 Indo-German business collaborations and 600 Indo-German joint ventures in operation.

April 14

Turkey begins construction of first nuclear power plant.
Turkey began the construction of its first nuclear power plant located at Akkuyu in Mersin province on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
It will be built by Akkuyu Project Company, a subsidiary of Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom.
Key Facts:
In 2010, Turkey and Russia had signed an agreement to set up $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear project.
Akkuyu Project Company will own, build and operate the plant that comprises four 1,200 MW VVER units.
The site was chosen at Akkuyu by Turkish government because it has low population density and low risk of earthquakes.
It should be noted that Akkuyu nuclear plant is the first of three nuclear power plants planned by Turkey. Second plant is due to be built in the Black Sea city of Sinop by a French-Japanese consortium and third plant’s location is not finalised yet.
With these nuclear plants, Turkish government is aiming to bring greater energy self-sufficiency by reducing its dependence on energy imports from like Russia and Iran.
Australia assures India full technological support to clean the Ganga.
Australia assured India that it would extend full technological support for the ambitious project to cleanse the Ganga, saying measures like controlling effluent discharge could be used to clean the river.
Australia has promised its full support to Ganga Rejuvenation plan. This was communicated by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop when she called on Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharati.
Both the leaders also discussed bilateral co-operation in sectors like water-flow forecasting, recharging of ground water, mapping of ground water storage and inter-linking of rivers.

April 15

UN Security Council to vote on arms embargo against Yemen Houthi rebels.
The UN Security Council has scheduled a vote on a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo on leaders of Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebels and their key supporters – ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been pushed to the brink of collapse by ground fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes in support of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.
The Security Council resolution was approved in a 14-0 vote, with Russia abstaining. Moscow had insisted on an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict.
The resolution imposes the weapons embargo on five men- Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi, Saleh and his eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh. The former president and his son are key supporters of the Houthi group.
About Yemen:
Capital: Sanaa.
President: Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Currency: Yemeni rial.

Capital Moscow Astana
President Vladimir Putin Nursultan Nazarbayev
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Karim Massimov
Currency Russian ruble Tenge
India, Belarus to enhance bilateral ties.
India and Belarus agreed to enhance their bilateral ties especially in the field of trade and economy.
India also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interests with Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordering Russia during the meeting of Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei is on a three-day visit to India on the invitation of Swaraj.
The two Ministers discussed bilateral issues including high level political engagement, trade and investment, science and technology, defence, energy and culture.
About Belarus:
Capital: Minsk.
President: Alexander Lukashenko.
Prime Minister: Andrei Kobyakov.
Currency: Belarusian ruble.

April 16

Canada to Supply Uranium to India for 5 Years Under Landmark Deal.
Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to energy-hungry India from this year under a $254 million five-year deal to power Indian atomic reactors, four decades after bilateral cooperation in this sector was frozen over India's nuclear programme.
The agreement for uranium supply, which came two years after protracted negotiations following the 2013 civil nuclear deal between India and Canada, was signed after comprehensive talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
Cameco Corporation will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium over five years to India at an estimated cost of $254 million and the supply will start from this year.
Canada is the third country to supply uranium to India after Russia and Kazakhstan. The supplies will be under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
Canada banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India in the 1970s after it was alleged that New Delhi used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb.
The two countries put this behind them with the Canada- India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement that took effect in 2013.
Russia to hold first-ever joint military exercises with Pakistan.
Pakistan and Russia will hold their first-ever joint military exercises as the two countries enhance defence cooperation, in a sign of increasing bonhomie between the Cold War-era adversaries.
The agreement was reached during a meeting in Moscow between Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan and Russia last year signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in "tangible" terms during the first-ever visit of a Russian defence minister in 45 years.
Canadian PM Harper Returns 900-Year-Old Khajuraho Temple Sculpture to PM Modi.
A 900-year-old piece of sculpture from Khajuraho temple, which had somehow reached Canada, was returned by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to PM Narendra Modi in Ottawa.
The sculpture, known as 'Parrot Lady', was handed over by Canandian PM Harper to PM Modi in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
The stone sculpture, meant to be in UNESCO-protected Khajuraho, depicts a dancer with a parrot on her back.
The valuable antique piece surfaced in Canada in 2011 when it was found in possession of a person who did not have proper documents and it was seized.
Israel Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with Sirens and Tears
Israelis have come to a mournful, two-minute standstill as sirens pierced the air in remembrance of the 6 million Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.
As the siren sounded, cars and buses pulled over on the side of highways and roads. Motorists stepped out of their cars and pedestrians stopped in their tracks, bowing their heads as they remembered those who perished.
Melancholic music and interviews with Holocaust survivors are filling the airwaves while TV stations show documentaries about the genocide.
About Holocaust Remembrance Day:
Holocaust Memorial Day or Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 16-17) refer to a number of world-wide commemorations of the Holocaust taking place during World War II.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, seeks to commemorates the Holocaust. Specifically it seeks to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust. This includes six million Jews and thousands of Russians gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons and others.
India extends visa on arrival for Sri Lankans
India has launched e-tourist Visa Scheme (eTV) aimed at making visa facility easier for India-bound Sri Lankans.
Those Sri Lankans holding ordinary passports can avail themselves of the facility, which came into effect, coinciding with the Tamil and Sinhala New Year Day.
The launch of the scheme follows the announcement made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Colombo last month.
Visas to be issued under the new scheme will be for single-entry and valid for only 30 days’ stay from the date of arrival in India.
Entry into India must be through any of the nine designated airports. A fee of $ 60 will be levied per person for the new scheme.
The official acknowledges this but points out that the eTV scheme is “hassle free.”
India, Canada issued Joint Statement titled ''New Vigour, New Steps''.
India and Canada issued Joint Statement title New Vigour, New Steps to elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
Modi’s visit to Canada is the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 42 years.
The two nations signed agreements covering the fields of uranium, visas, terrorism, foreign investment promotion and protection, Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) free-trade deal, culture and people-to-people ties, regional and global issues and others.

April 17

Putin lifts Russia's ban on delivery of S-300 missile system to Iran.
President Vladimir Putin sanctioned the delivery of a highly capable Russian air defense missile system to Iran, a game changer move that would significantly bolster the Islamic republic's military capability and fuel Israel's concerns.
Kremlin officials cited the April 2 framework agreement between Iran and six world powers that is expected to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons as grounds for proceeding with delivery of the S-300 missile systems.
Russia signed the $800 million contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but suspended their delivery three years later because of strong objections from the United States and Israel.
The preliminary agreement on settling the Iranian nuclear standoff struck earlier this month made the 2010 Russian ban unnecessary.
The S-300 missile system, which has a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and the capability to track down and strike multiple targets simultaneously, is one of the most potent air defense weapons in the world.
Manohar Parrikar to talk defence cooperation with South Korea.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hold extensive talks with top South Korean officials in Seoul on deepening bilateral defence ties especially in the context of Modi government's 'Make-in-India' initiative.
Parrikar, is accompanied by Defence Secretary RK Mathur and senior Indian military and civilian officials from the Ministry of Defence and an Indian Defence industry delegation.
During the three-day visit to South Korea, Parrikar will co-chair the India- Republic of Korea (RoK) Defence Ministerial meeting with his Korean counterpart Gen Han Min-Koo.
They hold extensive discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral defence relationship and regional and global issues of mutual interest and will in particular identify ways to upgrade the defence relationship.
After Germanwings crash, Turkish airline CEO urges pilots to marry.
Turkish Airlines’ CEO has one possible solution to avoid another case like last month’s Germanwings crash- have pilots get married.
Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had suffered from depression before he deliberately flew the Airbus A320 into a French mountainside on March 24. Killing all 150 people on board.

April 18

China’s President Xi Jinping will visit Pakistan to finalise deals for Maritime Silk Road.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is heading to Islamabad on a two-day visit which, deepened by billions of dollars of likely investments, is expected to test Beijing’s capacity to avoid antagonising India too much.
The Chinese President is expected to sign infrastructure and energy deals estimated at $45 billion, which would be used to build the Pakistani node of Beijing’s ambitious Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
In turn, this would provide China another point of access into the Indian Ocean, from Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar.
The Financial Times is reporting that $34 billion of the $45-billion investment will go into new energy projects. Another $11 billion will be pumped into new infrastructure projects linked to the Pakistan-China economic corridor, which has been woven into the MSR initiative.
And also China is expected to finalise with Pakistan, a deal for eight diesel electric submarines -a move that is bound to raise concerns in India.

April 19

U.N. says Afghanistan's court system fails women.
Women in Afghanistan regularly named as one of the worst places in the world to be a woman are being failed by the country’s justice system as most complaints of domestic violence are dealt with through mediation rather than prosecution, according to the United Nations.
A report released concluded that only five per cent of surveyed domestic violence cases were resolved through the judicial system, resulting in criminal prosecution and punishment for perpetrators.
The U.N. findings also indicate that the majority of women interviewed were largely concerned with logistical and financial matters such as divorce and receiving fair alimony.
Ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit, government may offer e-tourist visa to Chinese nationals.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to China, India may extend the e-tourist visa facility to citizens of that country, despite strong opposition from an intelligence agency.
The Tourism Ministry has been strongly advocating extending the e-tourist visa facility to five more countries, including China. The other four countries are the U.K., France, Italy and Spain.
Home Ministry officials said the intelligence agency has red-flagged granting of the e-tourist visa facility to Chinese nationals due to various reasons.
Frequent issuance of stapled visa by China to people from Arunachal Pradesh was one of the key reasons for the objection.
Replica of historic ship set to sail in France.
A replica of the 18th century ship that took a French general on his voyage to become a hero of the American war of independence was to set sail again.
Big crowds gathered to wish bon voyage to the painstakingly recreated tall ship Hermione, leaving from Ile d’Aix, in southwest France, for the east coast of the United States.
The French and American flags were raised on the wooden frigate and crew members made last minute preparations for their Atlantic crossing retracing the voyage 235 years ago of General Lafayette, who won fame for rallying America’s rebels fighting for independence from Britain.
The ship was to set sail at 2030 GMT, with a first stop due in the Canary Islands, before continuing across the Atlantic Ocean.

April 20

US, Philippines start combat drills amid China reclamations.
More than 11,500 American and Filipino military personnel launched one of their largest annual combat exercises, amid growing alarm over massive land reclamation by China in disputed South China Sea territories.
Philippine military officials said the “Balikatan,” or shoulder-to-shoulder, manoeuvres, which involve more than 90 aircraft and ships, were not directed at China.
But the venue of some of the war games in waters facing the disputed region and a focus on territorial defense appear to link the exercises to the longsimmering conflict.
About Balikatan:
Balikatan is the name for the annual military exercises between the Philippines and the United States.
It is a Tagalog word meaning "shoulder-to-shoulder".
The April 2015 10-day exercises is the 32nd iteration of the Balikatan exercises.The exercises have been the cornerstone of Philippines-United States military relations since the U.S. bases in the Philippines closed. Xi launches $46 billion investment plan in Pakistan.
China cemented its “all—weather ties” with Pakistan by agreeing to build a strategic USD 46 billion economic corridor through the PoK as part of 51 deals signed, expanding the communist giant’s influence in the region.
Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled his country’s biggest overseas investment the ambitious 3,000 km long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his historic maiden state visit to Islamabad.
A total of 51 agreements were signed in different fields, including infrastructure projects, energy generation, agriculture, education, telecommunications and research.
Of the 51, 30 agreements were linked to the strategic corridor, regarded as the biggest connectivity project between the two countries after Karakoram highway built in 1979. It will shorten the route for China’s energy imports from the Middle East by about 12,000 kms.
The corridor expected to be ready in three years and provide about 10,400 MWs of electricity gives China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Centre Party wins Parliamentary Elections of Finland.
Finland's opposition Centre Party won general election, ousting Prime Minister Alexander Stubb's left-right coalition after a campaign dominated by the country's economic woes.
Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, a 53-year-old IT millionaire and newcomer to politics, is set to become Finland's next prime minister.
Sipila's liberal-agrarian party won 49 of 200 seats in parliament, results showed with 100 percent of votes counted.
Stubb's conservative National Coalition Party meanwhile won 37 seats and the Social Democrats 34 seats.

April 21

India to hand over three Cheetal copters to Kabul.
Three indigenously-built Cheetal multi-role helicopters are planned to hand over to Afghanistan during the visit of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to India.
Cheetals are the upgraded variants of Cheetah light utility, multi-role helicopters built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Cheetals can be used for personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic support and rescue and can operate in high-altitude areas, a critical requirement for Afghanistan's mountainous regions.

April 23

Calbuco volcano in Chile erupts.
Calbuco volcano in Chile has erupted for the first time in 42 years.
This volcano billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area in southern Chile.
Chile’s National Mining and Geology Service issued a high alert to the cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt which lies around the volcano
President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of emergency.
About Calbuco:
Calbuco is a strato volcano in southern Chile, located southeast of Llanquihue Lake and northwest of Chapo Lake, in the Los Lagos Region.
The volcano and the surrounding area are protected within Llanquihue National Reserve. It is a very explosive volcano whose lavas usually contain 55 to 60% silicon dioxide (SiO2).
Calbuco has had at least 10 eruptions since 1837.
Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in South America (ranking 7th worldwide).
In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD.

April 24

U.S. accuses Russia of violating ceasefire in Ukraine.
The United States has accused Russia of violating the Minsk ceasefire agreement by deploying more air defense systems in eastern Ukraine.
Both pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces have signed a truce deal, brokered by the West, in Minsk in the month of February.
Russia has violated the terms of the ceasefire in Ukraine by significantly increasing the number of its troops in the border region, and sending arms and drones to rebels
The U.S. State Department spokeswoman: Marie Harf.
The US ambassador to the UN: Samantha Power.
The economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Union.
The country moved from a planned economy to a market economy.
The Russian economy ranks as the 15th largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015.
Pollution Management and Environmental Health Programme is established by World Bank
Pollution Management and Environment program [PMEH] was established by World Bank. The program was set in motion on Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day in Washington D.C.
Air Quality management is the main object of PMEH.
Pollution Management and Environmental Health Programme also aimed in dealing with water and land pollution.
Forty five million US Dollars are allotted to PMEH programme for the period 5 years from 2015 to 2020.
Objectives of this health program are
Countries to considerably reduce air, water and land pollution level through pollution management planning and investment to enhance health.
Creating new information about pollution and its effects in urban, rural and marine areas.
To develop consciousness among public, policy makers, stake holders etc.

April 26

Italy celebrates the 70th anniversary of a partisan anti-nazi uprising.
Italy is celebrating the 70th anniversary of a partisan uprising against the Nazis and their Fascist allies at the end of World War II.
The govt marked Liberation Day by laying a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldiers in Rome.
Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who headed a Nazi puppet state in northern Italy.
About Anti – Nazi:
The anniversary marks the day in 1945 when the Italian resistance movement proclaimed an insurgency as the Allies were pushing German forces out of the peninsula.
Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who headed a Nazi puppet state in northern Italy, was captured, shot and hung by his feet in a Milan square.
After the capture of Rome, it took a long time to get the Germans out of there.
German forces surrendered in Italy just over a week before signing a total and unconditional surrender to Allied Forces in Europe on May 7, 1945.

April 27

UK announces 5 mn pound for earth quake hit Nepal.
The UK has given 5 million pounds to Nepal to help people affected by the devastating earthquake.
Around 3200 people are killed due to Earth Quake.
To address immediate needs UK has released 3mn Pounds and remaining 2mn Pounds would be given to Red Cross society.
At least 18 people have been killed in avalanches on Mount Everest.
A 62-member team from China arrived in Kathmandu on a search and rescue mission following the massive earthquake.
Indonesia gives 72-hour execution notice to drug traffickers.
Indonesia notified nine foreigners and a local man convicted of drug trafficking that their executions will be carried out within days, ignoring appeals by the U.N. chief and foreign leaders to spare them.
The Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are among 10 drug traffickers facing execution by an Indonesian firing squad.
Indonesia has given 72 hour execution time to the two Australians, the four Nigerian men, a Filipino woman, and one man each from Brazil, France and Indonesia for their last wish as well as giving them 72 hour notice of their executions.
The 72 hour notice indicates the executions by firing squad in Besi prison on Nusakambangan Island will be carried out.
Australia wants corruption allegations against Indonesian judges investigated before their death sentences against two Australian drug traffickers are carried out.

April 28

Nepal Government to fly flag at half mast.
The government has decided to fly the national flag at half mast from 28-04-2015 to 30-04-2015 in mourning of the dead of the earthquake.
All the government offices in Nepal and diplomatic agencies abroad will be part of the decision.

April 29

Sri Lanka adopts 19th amendment act.
The Sri Lanka parliament night adopted the 19th constitutional amendment with an overwhelming majority.
The 225 parliament cleared the bill with 212 members voting in favour of the legislation. 10 members were absent.
Important features of the bill:
The reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years.
Reintroduction of a two term limit that a person can have as President.
The power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years.
The revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.

April 30

Pakistan court jails 10 members for role in Malala attack.
A Pakistani court sentenced 10 Taliban fighters to life in prison for their involvement in the 2012 attack on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.
Each militant got 25 years in jail. It is life in prison for the 10 militants who were tried by an anti terrorist court.
Malala was shot in the head by members of the Pakistani Taliban when she was returning from school. The fighters targeted her because she advocated for education for women.
India extends e-tourist visa scheme to 31 more countries.
India will provide 2-tourist Visa to 31 more countries including France and Canada enabling the citizens of these nations easy entry to the country.
The e-tourist visa had been launched in last year for 45 countries from nine designated Indian airports.
With the latest addition, the total number of countries under this scheme will go up to 76.