international - 2017 APRIL

April 1

Donald Trump to study ''trade abuse'' to check deficits.
President Donald Trump will order a comprehensive study to identify every form of ''trade abuse'' that contributes to US deficits with foreign countries.
Trump also will take steps to toughen enforcement of trade penalties just a day after announcing the date for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, leader of the country Trump has blamed most frequently for trade deficits and job losses.
The trade study, to be completed within 90 days, will examine deficits ''country by country and product by product'' to assess the extent they are caused by ''cheating or inappropriate behavior'', which also will cover currency misalignments and "constraints" imposed by the World Trade Organization, will help guide Trump’s trade policies.

European Union offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough transition terms.
The European Union offered Britain talks this year on a future free trade pact but made clear in negotiating guidelines issued that London must first agree to EU demands on the terms of Brexit.
Those include paying tens of billions of euros and giving residence rights to some 3 million EU citizens in Britain, the proposed negotiating objectives distributed by EU summit chair Donald Tusk to Britain's 27 EU partners showed.
The document, seen by Reuters, also sets tough conditions for any transition period, insisting Britain must accept many EU rules after any such partial withdrawal. It also spelled out EU resistance to Britain scrapping swathes of tax, environmental and labour laws if it wants to have an eventual free trade pact.

April 2

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina calls for united fight against terrorism.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a united fight against terrorism terming it a new global vice. Speaking at the inauguration of the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Dhaka.
Militancy and Terrorism costs lives and impedes peace and development, Emphasizing that militancy is not a problem of any one particular country.
Hasina also emphasized the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Emphasizing that over 800 million people across the world suffer from malnutrition and a large number of children in developing countries suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition.

Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency.
A new Japanese law that defines digital currencies as a legal payment method goes into effect on April 1, 2017.
That law applies the country's know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, requires exchanges to meet capital and cybersecurity requirements, and will subject those exchanges to annual audits.
Virtual currencies are enjoying growing population in Japan, where domestic circulation of bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and others amounted to 185 billion yen ($1.67 billion) in the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year.

April 3

South Korea, Japan, US hold drill against North Korea submarines missile threats.
South Korea, Japan and the United States are holding a three-day joint naval exercise aimed at ensuring effective response to the North Korea's submarine threats, including the submarine-launched ballistic missiles and to demonstrate the three countries' strong determination.
The drills, involving more than 800 troops, kicked off in South Korea's southern coast near Japan.
The exercise is being held in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's warning that Washington is prepared to act unilaterally to deal with North Korea's nuclear program if China proves unwilling to help.

Bahrain approves military trials for civilians.
Bahrain's king has approved a law passed by parliament that allows for military courts to try civilians amid a major crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa approved the constitutional amendment
The island's elected 40-member Consultative Council and its appointed 40-seat Council of Representatives, the two houses of Bahrain’s parliament, earlier passed the amendment.
Activists warn the amendment will allow an undeclared state of martial law on the island near Saudi Arabia that’s home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

April 4

Trump signs resolution scrapping internet privacy rules.
US President Donald Trump signed a resolution reversing a Barack Obama-era rule that restricted internet providers from sharing users' browsing history without their permission.
The rule also required internet providers to secure the users' data from the hackers and notify users of any data breach.
The Republicans argued the rules were confusing to consumers and unfair to internet providers.

Defence pact formalized between Canada, Ukraine.
Canada and Ukraine have formalised a defense pact that would see Canada continue to offer military training and share combat expertise.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak in Ottawa to sign the defence co-operation agreement.
Canada extended its mission providing weapons, tactical and survival training to Ukrainian troops through March 2019. The joint military training mission with Britain and the United States started in 2015 in response to a more assertive Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine the year before.

New Malaysian visas allow Indians to travel to ASEAN nations.
Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak announced the launch of multiple-entry e-visas, allowing Indians to fly to Malaysia and visit South Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia using just one visa.
Malaysia will serve as the gateway to ASEAN for Indians, Malaysia also decided to not charge visa fees and approve online applications within 48 hours for Indians.

April 5

China is set to overtake US economy in 2050.
According to the latest World Bank figures, the economy of the United States is the largest in the world. At $18 trillion, it represents a quarter share of the global economy (24.3 per cent).
China follows, with $11 trillion, or 14.8 per cent of the world economy. Japan is in third place with an economy of $4.4 trillion, which represents almost 6 per cent of the world economy.
India is in seventh place with $2 trillion. Although China trails the US by $7 trillion, it's catching up. China’s economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2016, compared to America's 1.6 per cent, according to the IMF.
However, the experts predict the US may not dominate for much longer. A study by PricewaterhouseCooper gives a glimpse of how the world economy might look in 2050.

India & United Kingdom to set up 240 million pound fund for green energy.
India and the United Kingdom (UK) have decided to set up a 240 million Pound fund to finance clean energy projects.
India had in 2015 set up the Rs. 40,000 crore National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) to finance greenfield as well as brownfield projects.
The Green Growth Equity Fund will be a sub-fund of NIIF. The fund will focus initial investments in India's rapidly growing energy and renewables market.

April 6

India-UAE cultural celebrations festival launched at Abu Dhabi.
The India and UAE cultural celebrations festival has been launched in Abu Dhabi with a tribute video featuring the Mahatma Gandhi and late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The video took the audience through a journey of shared values, pluralism, and multiculturalism between the two nations.
India-UAE Cultural Celebrations is a cultural partnership for a positive future is a cultural engagement programme between India and the United Arab Emirates.
The programme supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, UAE and the Indian Business and Professional Group.

Ecuador presidential election won by Leftist Moreno.
Ecuadorean leftist Lenin Moreno won presidential election after a tight contest with his right-wing opponent.
According to the council, Moreno pocketed 51.16 per cent of valid votes versus 48.84 per cent for conservative challenger Guillermo Lasso, with 99.65 per cent of votes counted.
The results are "irreversible'', electoral council president Juan Pablo Pozo, adding there was no indication of fraud.

April 7

Constitution for election signed by Thai king.
Thailand's king has signed a new constitution, paving the way for an election that would bring the country back to democratic rule.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn has signed the document in a ceremony at Bangkok. An original draft of the constitution, viewed as the basis for returning to democracy, was approved in a referendum last August.
But the King has asked in January that changes be made to give him more power on appointing a regent in the event he isn't in the country.

April 8

Uruguay to Become First Country to Fully Legalize Marijuana.
Uruguay is set to become the first country to allow recreational marijuana to be sold in pharmacies in July. The country is trying for nearly four years to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
The country has stockpiled 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of marijuana so far. Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents who must be 18 or older will be allowed to purchase marijuana from a pharmacy.
People must enroll in a national registry of marijuana users before purchase. They will be limited to purchasing 40 grams (1.41 oz) per month and 10 grams per week. When pharmacies first start selling marijuana, users can only purchase it in 5­gram containers at $1.30 (1.22 euros) per gram.
Non Resident Uruguayans or Foreigners will not be allowed to purchase marijuana from pharmacies in Uruguay.

United States, China agree to pursue 100 day plan for reducing trade deficit.
US President Donald Trump and President of the People's Republic of China & Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping have agreed to pursue a '100 day plan' aimed at reducing the US trade deficit with China.
The presidents agreed to the plan to correct the trade imbalance. It includes the boosting of US exports to China.
It is designed to cover 4 fields. They include law enforcement and cyber security, as well as the economy.

April 9

Iranian President calls for formation of international fact-finding committee to investigate chemical weapons attack.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the formation of an international fact-finding committee to investigate the chemical weapons attack in the northern Syrian town of Idlib that killed at least eighty-seven people.
During a speech in Tehran, Mr Rouhani warned that US missile strikes in response risked escalating extremism and instability in the region.
Tehran is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main regional ally and has provided military and economic support for his fight against rebel groups and Islamic State terrorists.

April 10

First United Kingdom rail freight service to China to depart.
The first rail freight service from United Kingdom to China departed from Essex. Earlier the first freight train in the opposite direction, from China to UK had arrived in London in January 2017.
The train service was launched as part of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.
The 30 containers train carrying British goods including pharmaceuticals will travel over 7,500 miles to reach Yiwu (China), a famed wholesale market town in the eastern province of Zhejiang in 17 days.
The train during the journey will pass through seven countries France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan before reaching final destination in China.

Egypt President declares 3 month state of emergency following church bombings.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a 3 month state of emergency in Egypt following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities.
Sisi announced the ''state of emergency for three months'' in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.
The attacks followed a Cairo church bombing in December and came weeks ahead of a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis intended to show support for the country's Christian minority.

Indian, Australian PMs launch world's most advanced nanobiotechnology research centre in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inaugurated the world's most advanced nanobiotechnology research centre, a joint venture between The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Deakin University, Australia.
The cooperation in the field of education and research is the most important field of engagement between India and Australia. TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre is a classic example of the kind of cutting edge research being done by the two countries.
The $100 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund is for collaborative research in areas such as nanotechnology, agriculture, food security, smart cities, etc.

April 11

100 years of Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram Celebrated in London.
The centenary of Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram was celebrated in London with the screening of a documentary to re-tell Gandhi's story.
The documentary 'Sabarmati Ashram- The Home of Gandhi's Experiments with Truth was screened at the Nehru Centre.
The film showed how Gandhi set up the ashram in 1917 on a wasteland on the banks of Sabarmati River and some pro-British newspapers ridiculed his idea of Salt March. The film also sheds light on Gandhi's life in the Ashram.

Nepal Government presents new Constitution amendment bill to address concerns of Madhesi parties.
In a bid to take agitating Madhesi parties on board before May 14 local elections Nepal government has presented a new constitution amendment bill.
The bill was registered at the parliament secretariat by the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry.
The bill aims to address some of the key demands raised by United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).
Madhesi leaders are demanding more representation and re-demarcation of provincial boundaries ahead of local polls.

April 12

Saudi Arabia raises $9 billion in first global islamic bond issue.
Saudi Arabia raised $9 billion in its first global Islamic bond issue, the government announced, a move analysts say could ease pressure on foreign reserves.
The sale of Islamic bonds, known as sukuks, comes after the kingdom in October turned to the conventional global debt market for the first time, raising $17.5 billion in a bond issue.
Saudi Arabia has also sold domestic bonds and drawn on its accumulated reserves, all in an effort to reform the economy and address budget deficits caused by a collapse in oil revenues since 2014.

April 13

Bipartisan delegation to be headed by US House Speaker Ryan.
US House Speaker Paul Ryan will head a bipartisan delegation to Europe to meet with leaders of NATO allies including Estonia, amid Russia's rising tensions with the West.
The delegation will travel to Britain, Norway, Poland and Estonia to "meet with government officials and military leaders to review and discuss evolving security threats facing Europe as well as opportunities for greater economic cooperation''.
The speaker, the most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives and an ally of President Donald Trump, will be joined by House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry and four other Republicans, along with two House Democrats.

Russia vetoes UN draft resolution on Syria gas attack probe.
Russia has vetoed a UN resolution condemning the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and urging a speedy investigation.
The resolution, which aimed to bolster support for international inquiries into a deadly toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, was being pushed by the US, Britain and France.
While 10 nations voted in favour, Russia and Bolivia vetoed the resolution, while China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstained. It marks the eighth time Russia has vetoed a vote on a Syria resolution.

April 14

United States drops biggest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan: Pentagon.
United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants.
It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.
Also known as the "mother of all bombs," the GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war.

India, Russia strategic partnership important for international security, stability: Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has that further strengthening of strategic partnership between Russia and India was important for international security and meets the fundamental interests of people of the two countries.
The two countries maintain close positions on key global and regional affairs and efficiently coordinate their efforts at multinational organisations, such as the UN and BRICS.
The Russian President added that by acting together, the two nations make a weighty contribution to the war on terrorism, extremism, trans-border crime and other topical challenges.

Nepal and China to conduct Sagarmatha Friendship - 2017.
Nepal and China is all set to hold their first ever joint military exercise named 'Sagarmatha Friendship - 2017' from April 17 to April 26.
The 10 day long joint exercise will focus on combating terror and disaster management. Although, Nepal conducts joint exercises with other countries like India and United States, this is the first time it is holding a joint exercise with China.
The joint exercise comes at the backdrop of Nepal's proposal of such exercise having focus on disaster management during Chinese Defence Minister, General Chang Wanquan's official visit to Nepal on March. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mt Everest, which stands in between both the countries.
Fully-airconditioned Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express inaugurated.
The Railways Minister of Bangladesh Mazibul Hoque and Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla has inaugurated a fully-airconditioned Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express train in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A total of 456 passengers will now be able to travel in the comfort of air-conditioned coaches, with four of them belonging to the first-class.
The frequency of this express train had also been increased from three to four times a week from 11th  November last year.

April 15

North Korea warns United States to end military hysteria or face consequences.
North Korea warned the United States to end its military hysteria or face retaliation as a US aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.
Hundreds of military trucks carrying cheering and singing people headed for a parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of the country's founding father, celebrations that coincide with the latest threat by the reclusive state against the United States and President Donald Trump.
Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack. That raised questions about Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

More than 2,000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean.
More than 2,000 migrants trying to reach Europe were plucked from the Mediterranean in a series of dramatic rescues and one person was found dead.
19 rescue operations by the coast guard or ships operated by non-governmental organizations had saved a total of 2,074 migrants on 16 rubber dinghies and three small wooden boats.
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in a tweet that one teenager was found dead in a rubber boat whose passengers were rescued by its ship Aquarius.

Air China to suspend Beijing-Pyongyang flights.
China's national airline, Air China, has cancelled some flights to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, due to poor demand but it has not suspended all flights.
CCTV reported that all flights run by the airline between the two cities were to be suspended indefinitely.
Air China did not stop operation of the Beijing to Pyongyang route, but temporarily cancelled some flights based on the situation of ticket sales.

April 16

Erdogan wins Turkey referendum as opposition cries foul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a historic referendum in the biggest overhaul of modern Turkish politics and the opposition not satisfied about the result.
Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast and its three main cities, including the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul, put ''No'' after a bitter and divisive movement.
The ruling system has been changing through civil politics for the first time in the history of the Republic. The 'Yes' campaign won 51.4 per cent of the vote against 48.6 percent for 'No'.
This victory will replace Turkey's parliamentary system with an all powerful presidency like ruled by one man under president and abolish the office of prime minister.
But opposition Republican People s Party (CHP) chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu showed dissatisfaction about the result and challenge the outcome.

Air China to suspend Beijing-Pyongyang flights.
China's national airline, Air China, has cancelled some flights to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, due to poor demand but it has not suspended all flights.
CCTV reported that all flights run by the airline between the two cities were to be suspended indefinitely.
Air China did not stop operation of the Beijing to Pyongyang route, but temporarily cancelled some flights based on the situation of ticket sales.

April 17

Nepal and China to Conduct Sagarmatha Friendship.
First ever Joint military exercise begin between Nepal and China named Sagarmatha Frienship 2017 in Kathmandu. The exercise will be taking place at the Maharajgunj based training school.
Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest which stands in between both the countries. It's mainly focus on combining terror activities and disaster management.
DGMO of Nepal Army General Binod Kumar Shrestha inaugurated the exercise. The Joint training will prove to be a great platform to learn and share knowledge and experiences with each other.

United States warns North Korea not to continue missile, nuclear tests.
United States Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea not to continue missile and nuclear tests.
Pence, who is in Japan, also informed to country's era of strategic patience with North Korea was over. Pence arrived in Seoul after North Korea carried out a failed missile launch.
On the other hand, North Korea's deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused Washington of creating a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time and Pyongyang's next nuclear test would take place at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary.

April 18

Turkey cabinet agrees to extend emergency after referendum.
The Turkish cabinet agreed to extend for another three months the state of emergency imposed after last July's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The decision comes after a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK), chaired by Erdogan, to recommend its extension.
The emergency was due to end on April 19. Its extension follows the approval by Turkish voters of constitutional changes boosting Erdogan's powers.

Trump advisers to meet to discuss Paris climate agreement.
Advisers to President Donald Trump will meet to discuss whether to recommend that he withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.
The meeting comes before a summit of the Group of Seven industrial nations in late May, the deadline for the White House to take a position. United States should cancel the deal, but he has been mostly quiet on the issue since he was elected last November.
White House officials, led by the National Economic Council, have recently been asking publicly traded energy companies for advice on whether to stay in the agreement.

Australia abolishes 457 visa programme used largely by Indians.
Australia abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country. The programme will be replaced by another visa programme, with new restrictions.
The programme known as 457 Visa which permits business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
The 457 visa will replace new work visa that will require foreign workers to have better English language and job skills. In order to fill critical skill gaps this programme has been launched. It includes mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.

April 19

United States President Donald Trump signs executive order to tighten H-1B visa programme.
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to tighten the rules for technology companies seeking to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the United States. The order signed by Trump targets the H-1B visa programme.
The programme undercuts American workers by bringing in large numbers of cheaper foreign workers, which drives down US wages. The order directs US agencies to propose rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse in the programme.
Agencies have also been asked to suggest changes so that the H-1B visas are granted to the most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.

United Nations to issue special stamps commemorating International Yoga Day on 21 June.
United Nations will issue special stamps commemorating the International Yoga Day on June 21 this year. India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted that the commemorative stamps will be released soon.
The UN postal agency, UN Postal Administration will issue the new special event sheet to commemorate Yoga Day that has been marked annually since 2015.
The special sheet consists of stamps with images of the sacred Indian sound "Om" and various yogic postures.

At United Nations, United States warns on human rights in Iran, Cuba, North Korea.
The United States has singled out North Korea and Syria over human rights violations and warned at the United Nations that new conflicts could be triggered by abuses in Iran, Cuba and North Korea.
US ambassador Nikki Haley made the case at the Security Council that more attention should be focused on rights abuses to prevent conflict, a view challenged by Russia, China and other countries at the UN body.
When a state begins to systematically violate human rights, it is a sign, it is a red flag, it's a blaring siren one of the clearest possible indicators that instability and violence may follow and spill across borders.

British lawmakers vote in favour of PM May's call for early general election.
British lawmakers voted by a resounding 522 to 13 to back Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap election on June 8.
The result easily surpassed the two-thirds majority of the 650 lawmakers needed to trigger an early vote. There were also a number of abstentions.
May says holding an election in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, will give the country "certainty and stability" as it negotiates its departure from the European Union.
May is hoping to gain a bigger majority in Parliament for her Conservatives, strengthening her negotiating hand with the EU.

April 20

Pakistan passes bill on compulsory Quran teaching in schools.
Pakistan's National Assembly passed a bill endorsing compulsory Quran education for all Muslim students studying in government schools from class 1 to 12, a move apparently aimed at weaning away children from religious seminaries.
The 'Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill 2017' was tabled before the house by state minister for federal education and professional training Balighur Rehman.
The bill provides that students from class 1 to 5 will learn to read the Arabic text of the holy book, while students from class 6 to 12 will also learn to read the Arabic text with simple Urdu translation.

Pakistan Supreme Court to deliver verdict in Panama Papers case.
Pakistan's top court is expected to deliver its verdict in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which has petitioned against the Sharifs in the case of alleged illegal money laundering, has sought disqualification of the 67-year-old Prime Minister.
Khan has alleged the Sharif misled the nation in his address on April 5 and the National Assembly where he spoke on May 16 last year, denying the allegations that he and his family had laundered money to purchase assets in London in the 1990s when he twice served as Prime Minister.

Australia unveils major changes to citizenship process.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced major changes to citizenship laws, making it tougher for foreign nationals to become Australian citizens.
Aspiring citizens will have to undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate "Australian values".
The applicants will also be required to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four years and will only be allowed to fail the citizenship test three times. At present, there is no limit to the number of times a person can fail the test.

Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad disqualified from running for president.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been disqualified from running in next month's presidential elections.
His name was left out of the final list of approved candidates that was announced.
The decision was taken by the Guardian Council, a group of influential jurists and clerics that was charged with the responsibility of screening the candidates for the upcoming elections, which are scheduled to be held on 19 May 2017.

Gandhi stamps sold at 500,000 pounds at auction in United Kingdom.
A set of four rare stamps, featuring the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi has fetched 5 lakh pounds at an auction which is so far, the highest price ever paid for Indian stamps. The auction was held in United Kingdom, the purchaser is a private Australian collector.
Only 13 of these 1948 Gandhi 10 rupee Purple Brown and Lake ‘Service’ stamps are in circulation.
Besides, the set of four which has been auctioned for 5 lakh pounds, other set of four is in the Royal Philatelic Collection, owned by Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen's collection is considered to be the most extensive and most precious private stamp collection. The record price for a stamp sold at an auction is 7.4 million pound.

April 21

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raises issue of tightening of H-1B visa regime with US Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the issue of recent executive orders on H-1B visa regime with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington DC.
Jaitely outlined the significant contributions, the skilled Indian professionals have made to the US economy and expressed the hope that the US administration will take this aspect into consideration while taking any decision.
US President Donald Trump had recently signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to ensure that the visas are given to what he called the most-skilled or highest paid petitioners.
Jaitley is on a five-day visit to the United States to attend the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as well as deliberations of G20 nations.

United States President Trump set to launch another effort to roll back Obamacare.
US President Donald Trump is set to launch another effort to roll back Obamacare. He will seek Congressional approval for a new healthcare bill before he marks 100 days in office on the 29th of April.
Trump and Congressional Republicans suffered a major defeat last month when they were forced to withdraw a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The legislation was opposed by Democrats and hardline conservatives of the Republican Party.

India wins elections to 2 United Nations subsidiary bodies.
India has won elections to 2 subsidiary bodies of a UN organ focussed on social and economic issues.
India along with 12 other members was elected to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The country garnered the most number of votes (49 out of 50 members of ECOSOC) in the Asian group.
The 13 members elected for three-year terms (from January 2018) include Burkina Faso, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, the United Kingdom and the United States.
India, along with 19 other nations, was also elected by acclamation to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for a four-year term beginning January next year.

China & Iran to sign contract on heavy water reactor.
The China and Iran will sign the first commercial contract to redesign Iran's Arak heavy water reactor in Vienna.
Redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor is a core aspect of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program.
The signing will create a favorable condition for the progress of the redesign.

Sri Lanka to host the 14th Edition of United Nations International Day of Vesak 2017.
The 14th Edition of United Nations International Day of Vesak 2017 will be hosted by Sri Lanka from 12-14 May 2017.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest for UN Vesak Day. Narendra Modi will inaugurate UN Vesak Day in Colombo on May 12, 2017.
Vesak Day is regarded by all Buddhist traditions as the anniversary of the birth of the Buddha. The theme of this edition is 'Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace'.

China to host BRICS Film Festival in June 2017.
The BRICS Film Festival 2017 will be held in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province from 23 to 27 June, 2017.
There will be 30 films from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) screened during the festival, including an anthology by five directors from the aforementioned countries.
The feature film consisting of five 18 minute shorts on the same theme is a joint work by Walter Salles from Brazil, Aleksey Fedorchenko from Russia, Madhur Bhandarkar from India, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka from South Africa, and Jia Zhangke from China.
The first BRICS Film Festival was held in New Delhi, India, in September 2016.

Pakistan's Gwadar port leased to China Overseas Port Holding Company for 40 Years.
The Pakistan Government leased the operations of its strategic Gwadar port to the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a period of 40 years. COPHC is a State-run Chinese firm.
The China Overseas Port Holding Company is slated to carry out all the developmental work on the port situated in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The company took over the operations of the port in 2013.
COPHC has 91 per cent share of revenue collection from gross revenue of terminal and marine operations and 85 per cent share from gross revenue of free zone operation. The provinces will not be given any share in the revenue collection.

April 22

Royal agencies of Thailand brought under control of King Vajiralongkorn.
The Parliament of Thailand agreed to transfer control of royal agencies from the government to the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Members of the military-appointed legislature that the decision was taken in a confidential session.
The session was not broadcasted in public. The organizations that will be transferred include the Royal Aide de Camp Department, the Bureau of the Royal Household, the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, the Royal Guard Command and the Royal Court Security Police.

European Union, India agree to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation.
India and European Union have agreed on the need to strengthen the security cooperation particularly on the issue of counter-terrorism.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The two leaders discussed regional and global developments of mutual interest.
Modi recalled his successful visit to Brussels in March last year for the India-EU Summit, and he is looking forward to the next summit to be held in India in October this year.

United States defence chief in Israel for talks on Iran, Syria.
United States Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visited Israel for talks expected to focus on Iran, Syria and the two countries' close strategic relations despite recent tensions with Barack Obama's adminstration.
Mattis talks with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, followed by meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
Israel and the United States have long close strategic ties, with Washington providing Israel more than 3 billion dollars per year in defence aid and President Donald Trump pledging unstinting support for the country.

Britain achieves its first ever coal-free day.
For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, Britain witnessed a full day powered by energy generated without the use of coal.
Its only coal-fired plant that had been up and running went offline. Britain will shut its last coal power station by 2025 to meet its climate change commitments.

April 23

French presidential election: Voting begins amid high security.
In France, voting for presidential election has amid high security following a deadly attack on Paris police.
50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed across the country to secure polling. Eleven candidates are vying to be the country's next president, with leading candidates spanning the political spectrum from far-left to far-right.
The two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight's time. Four candidates are currently seen as being within reach of the presidency. The conservative Francois Fillon, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-left's Jean-Luc Melenchon.

A new freight train connects Russia with China.
A freight train connecting Russia with China arrived in Ganzhou an inland city in Jiangxi province, carrying goods from Moscow.
The freight train travelled more than 7,000 km, before reaching Ganzhou in eastern China. This freight train connecting Russia and China is expected to bring resources from Europe and boost local development.
Ganzhou is an inland area with a complex landscape and was a hot bed of revolutionary activities owing to its remote mountain ranges.

April 24

China, Iran sign first agreement on reconfiguration of Arak reactor.
China and Iran have signed the first agreement on the reconfiguration of Iran's Arak reactor.
The deal was concluded between the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and a Chinese company at the official ceremony in the Austrian capital Vienna.
The reconstruction of the Arak heavy-water reactor is a part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal, which Tehran signed with international mediators in July 2015 in return for sanctions easing.

Nepal cabinet approves constitution amendment ,local polls agreement with Sanghiya Gathbandhan.
The Nepal cabinet has approved constitution amendment and local polls agreement with Sanghiya Gathbandhan, an alliance of Madeshi and Janjati parties.
In a meeting held at Kathmandu under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal cabinet also decided to hold local elections in two phases.
The first phase elections will be held on May 14 in Province No. 3, 4 and 6. Polling for second phase will be held on June 14 in Province No. 1, 2, 5 and 7. The government has appealed main opposition party to support constitution amendment bill.

Pakistan Hindus allowed to worship at Shiva temple after 20 years.
A Pakistani court allowed Hindus to worship at a Shiva temple in Abbottabad district which had been off limits to them for 20 years.
A bench of the Peshawar High Court headed by Justice Ateeq Hussain Shah permitted Hindus to worship at the Shiv Jee temple of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under section 20 of the Constitution.
The temple had been closed for any religious activity over a property dispute.
In 2013, a Hindu non-governmental organization filed a petition with the PHC Abbottabad bench that they had purchased the property through lease by a legal owner.

April 25

Ten nations, including India team up to protect ancient heritage from terrorism.
Ten countries formed a new group aimed at protecting ancient heritage from extremism of the kind that saw the Islamic State group lay waste to Syria's historic Palmyra.
Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy, China, India, Bolivia, Mexico and Peru all home to some of the world's most cherished archaeological sites have signed up to the "forum" launched in Athens by ministers and ambassadors from the nations.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, whose government is spearheading the project along with China, the group would run joint projects to promote "dialogue in the face of fanaticism, and culture in the face of terrorism".
Bamiyan, in Afghanistan, and Mali's Timbuktu are other UNESCO sites to suffer destruction at the hands of Islamist extremists. The new 10-country group is due to meet again in Bolivia next year.

India, Armenia sign three agreements.
India will help Armenia to build satellite and remote sensing data matters and train Armenian scientists as both the countries signed three agreements to boost bilateral cooperation.
The agreements were signed after Vice President Hamid Ansari held talks with the top leadership of Armenia including President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.
The meeting saw both sides agree on the fact that the international community must unite and speak with one voice against terrorism and not have double standards on the issue. Indian Vice President also stressed on the fact that there is nothing such as good or bad terrorism.

April 26

China bans 'Muhammad', 'Jihad', and 'Medina' as baby names.
The Chinese government prohibited parents from choosing baby names like Islam, Medina, Jihad and Quran for their children, thereby strengthening its hold on Muslims living in western China.
The ban is a part of the government’s effort to curb religious fervor in the region. Western China or the western region of Xinjiang is home to over 10 million Uighurs, a Muslim minority group.
The government fears the region to breed Islamic extremism, violence and separatist thought.

Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to take part in WHO malaria vaccine pilot programme.
The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/ AFRO) announced that Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will take part in a WHO-coordinated pilot implementation programme.
The programme will make the world's first malaria vaccine available in selected areas, beginning in 2018.
The injectable vaccine, RTS,S, was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.

April 27

UNESCO to screen Indian short film as part of World Press Freedom Day celebrations.
UNESCO to screen Rahul V. Chittella’s short film ''Azaad'' as a part of World Press Freedom Day event that is scheduled to be held from May 1-4 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The movie is about the dysfunctional relationship between a father and his son. World Press Freedom Day is celebrated by UNESCO to celebrate the principle of freedom of the press.
The theme for this year's edition of World Press Freedom Day is ''Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies''.

April 28

UAE's first solar-powered gas station opens in Dubai.
The 'Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) opened United Arab Emirates' first solar-powered gas station.
The ENOC states that the country's first solar-powered gas station signifies country's increased focus on maintaining the highest standards of sustainability and clean energy.
The station goes in line with the great strides made by the Emirate of Dubai to turn itself into a hub for renewable energy as part of the Dubai 2020 Vision.
The Vision plans make the emirate the smartest and the most sustainable in the world.

El Salvador becomes the first country to ban mining of metals for environmental protection.
El Salvador has became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection.
The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador''.
"It is a law that is necessary in the face of an industry which, far from bringing any benefit to communities, brings serious pollution to water sources and the environment''.

April 29

Trump signs executive order aimed at reducing restrictions on oil drilling in Arctic, Atlantic.
United States President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at reducing restrictions on oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic in order to unleash American energy.
It would create thousands and thousands of jobs, despite a downturn in the oil market. It could undo a ban put in place by Barack Obama in order to protect swathes of the ocean from development
Getting rid of Obama's environmental protections was one of Trump's promises to voters while on the campaign trail.

Montenegro parliament ratifies country's accession to Nato.
Montenegro's parliament has supported the Balkan country's membership in Nato in a historic turn toward the west amid protests by Russia and the pro-Russia opposition.
Politicians voted 46-0 to ratify the accession treaty with the western military alliance. They then stood up and applauded the decision.
The parliament has 81 members, but pro-Russia opposition politicians boycotted the session. Several hundred opposition supporters gathered outside the hall before the vote.

April 30

First direct London-China train completes 12,000 kilometre run in 20 days.
The first freight train linked China directly to the United Kingdom and arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu after a 12,000 kilometre (7,500 - mile) trip, becoming the world's second-longest rail route.
The train also carried pharmaceuticals and machinery. It started from London on April 10 and passed through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan during its 20 day trip before arriving in Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, a major wholesale centre for small consumer goods.
A train carrying containers from London arrives at the freight railway station in Yiwu, Zhejiang province of China. The sign at the front of the train reads: ''First Sino-Euro Freight Train (London-Yiwu)''.

India gives scholarship worth Rs. 35 crore to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh.
The new 'Muktijodha scholarship' scheme India will give Rs. 35 crore rupees to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh in the next five years.
All freedom fighters will be eligible for multiple entries on Indian visa for a period of five years. Every year 100 of them will be entitled to free medical treatment in Indian hospitals.
Under the scheme, students at higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Taka 20,000 (Rs. 15,370) and students at the undergraduate level will get a grant of Taka 50,000 (Rs. 38,430).


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