international - 2014 December

December 1

40 Indian prisoners released by Pakistan.
40 Indian prisoners were released by Pakistan and today they were repatriated by Pakistan government through Attari-Wagah route.
Out of 40 prisoners, 35 were fishermen who inadvertently went into Pakistani waters through Arabian Sea while fishing and later they were held by the Pakistani coast guards for illegal fishing and other five were arrested in Pakistan as their travel documents were not complete.
Earth's most abundant mineral named as Bridgmanite.
Team of American geologists named Bridgmanite as the most abundant mineral on earth.
Bridgmanite was named in the honour of physicist Percy Bridgman who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental contributions to high-pressure physics in the year 1946.

December 2

A court in Egypt has dropped charges against former President Hosni Mubarak over the killing of 239 protesters during the 2011 uprising against him.
The Cairo court erupted in cheers when the judge said Mubarak should not have been a defendant in the case as the charges against him were added late. Charges against seven senior ex-officials were also dropped.
The decision could be appealed. Victims' relatives waiting outside expressed dismay and frustration. And later police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 2,000 people who gathered near Tahrir Square to voice their opposition to the decision.
India and France agreed to overcome differences and fast-track ongoing negotiations for the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from France, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.
The decision came during discussions between visiting French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian and his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar. Both sides also decided to expand strategic cooperation, the official added.
Negotiations have been going on since 2012 when India selected Dassault Rafale from among competing medium multi-role combat aircraft. Differences cropped up between the two sides on delivery guarantees and price.

December 3

U.S. President Barack Obama praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to shake up the ''bureaucratic inertia'' in India, less than a month after he described the Indian leader as a ''man of action''.
However, Mr. Obama said that this was a long-term project and one would have to see how successful Prime Minister Modi is in his efforts.
''Modi has impressed me so far with his willingness to shake up the bureaucratic inertia inside of India. But that is a long-term project and well have to see how successful he is'', Mr. Obama told a business roundtable, which was attended by top corporate leaders of the country. The roundtable was organised to discuss the current economic condition of the US and across the globe.
India, backed by the United States, opposed a U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling on New Delhi to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons.
The resolution, which also targeted Israel and Pakistan, was, however, passed overwhelmingly.
The U.S. joined India to vote against a key part of the resolution on achieving a nuclear weapons-free world that called on India, Israel and Pakistan to immediately and unconditionally accede to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and put all their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

December 4

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin K. Dhowan said that all countries should respect freedom of navigation in international waters in accordance with the principle of global commons. He was referring to the Chinese claims in the South China Sea.
Addressing the annual press conference on the eve of the Navy Day, he asserted that the Navy’s area of operations extend to where India’s strategic interests take it.
Commenting on the Sindhurakshak submarine tragedy in which an onboard explosion sank it, Admiral Dhowan said that the board of inquiry has submitted its report and it was being evaluated.
“There are a series of issues that led to the accident. There are aspects related to handling equipment in submarines. When procedures are not followed, there is room for error and accidents can happen. It is an aspect related to handling of equipment,” he said on the likely cause of the accident.
China is expected to build 8,500 km of subway systems by 2020, giving it the world’s longest metro rail network, the government.
Nineteen cities have recently extended their metro systems, with total mileage expected to hit 3,000 km by the end of the year, Chinese Minister of Transport, Yang Chuantang was quoted as saying by state—run China Daily.
Public transit, especially the subway, has had a major effect on easing congestion in Beijing, and the government will inject more funding to promote its development, Dai Junliang, deputy mayor of Beijing said.
Four new subway lines will open to the public this month, which will extend the capital’s subway to 527 kms, the longest in the country.

December 5

A 1962 Nobel Prize medal won by biologist James Watson for the discovery of the structure of DNA has fetched more than USD 4.7 million, setting a world record for any Nobel Prize sold at auction.
The medal was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for a record-setting price of USD 4,757,000, marking the first time a living Nobel laureate sold his gold medal.
The amount fetched by the Nobel Prize medal at Christie’s New York auction surpassed the USD 2.2 million prices that were paid last year for the medal once owned by Watson’s late colleague, Francis Crick.
China’s anti-corruption campaign has targeted a former state security chief and a one-time Politburo member, who is now facing arrest after being sacked from the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The decision to expel Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau was taken on by the Politburo of the CPC. Zhou is the highest-ranking official probed for corruption since 1949.
The daily said that the meeting also decided to transfer Zhou’s suspected criminal case to the judicial organs for legal prosecution. The Supreme People's Procuratorate opened an investigation into Zhou's suspected crimes and decided to arrest him.
The India-U.S. defence relationship may now get personal attention with strong India-backer Ashton Carter nominated by President Barack Obama for the key post of the Defence Secretary.
A close Obama confidant, Carter, 60, has served in his administration, in particular at the Pentagon, in various capacities — the last being that of the Deputy Secretary of Defence from October 2011 to December 2013.
During that period he was also the Pentagon’s point person on India, launching the path-breaking Defence Trade and Technology Initiative.

December 6

Members of parliament voted Somalia's prime minister out of office for the second time in a year; a move Western donor warned would threaten the war-torn nation's fragile recovery.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed had been embroiled in a row over a Cabinet reshuffle with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who had overruled the changes.
The Prime Minister had been in office for just under a year after his predecessor, who also argued about the composition of the cabinet and been accused of poor performance, was voted out.
Britain will broaden its military footprint in the Middle East with the establishment of a permanent military base at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain.
An agreement on this was signed in Manama by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa.
The naval base will become the springboard for Britain’s involvement in the Middle East, most importantly its operations in Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition against the armies of the Islamic State.The U.K. already has four mine-hunter warships permanently based in Bahrain that supports British destroyers and frigates in the Gulf.

December 7

The Beijing-based China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has launched another mega project in Sri Lanka to construct a water supply system in Gampaha district.
The US $230 million water supply project is the largest ever undertaken by the Sri Lankan government, Xinhua reported quoting a government official.
The CMEC in May 2013 entered into a master contract with the National Water Supply & Drainage Board of Sri Lanka for the construction of Gampaha, Attanagalle and Minuwangoda Integrated Water Supply Scheme.
The project was launched with the inaugural laying of pipe by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in the town of Mahara. We are doing this for the community. Its a very important project and we are grateful for the Chinese government for supporting us in this. This is something that has great social worth,` Rajapaksa was quoted as saying at the inauguration ceremony.
China launched a major scheme to expand its large network of nuclear power plants, brushing aside remarks by its atomic regulator that the new Chinese technology is still not completely up to standards.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, announced plans to develop offshore nuclear power projects. Its spokesman Li Pumin assured that all projects will comply with the highest international security standards.
Head of National Energy Administration's nuclear power department, Liu Baohua, said efforts to draft administrative rules for nuclear power development have been heightened.

December 8

The US and NATO ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan, 13 years after the September 11 terror attacks sparked their invasion of the country to topple the Taliban-led government.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, which was in charge of combat operations, lowered its flag, formally ending its deployment.
US Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of NATO and US forces, said that the mission now would transition to a training and support role for Afghanistan’s own security forces, which have led the fight against the Taliban insurgents since mid-2013.
A Boeing aircraft has completed the world’s first flight using ‘green diesel’, a sustainable biofuel made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and animal fats.
The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane with a blend of 15 per cent green diesel and 85 per cent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.
''Green diesel offers a tremendous opportunity to make sustainable aviation biofuel more available and more affordable for our customers'', said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

December 9

China rejected UN arbitration to resolve the South China Sea (SCS) maritime dispute with its neighbors, asserting that it should be settled through direct bilateral negotiations.
As the deadline to respond to UN mediation sought by the Philippines to arbitrate its maritime dispute with China over the South China Sea inched close, Beijing issued a lengthy explanation rejecting international arbitration asserting that it should be settled through direct bilateral negotiations.
The Philippines had approached the UN body last year questioning China's claims to the Spratly islands, called Nansha islands by Beijing, and the waters around them.
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, announced that Bhutan has fulfilled all of its membership requirements to become MIGA’s 181st member.
Bhutan’s membership in MIGA means that direct foreign investment into the country is eligible for the Agency’s investment guarantees. Investors from Bhutan going into MIGA’s other developing member countries may also receive coverage for their investments.

December 10

After successfully competing for high-speed rail links abroad, China now wants to develop world class nuclear technology — a move that would not only lighten its carbon footprint, but also help it emerge as a major exporter of atomic power.
Last week, China decided to set up an undisclosed number of shore-based nuclear power plants, lifting the ban on new ventures that was imposed in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
The London-based World Nuclear News website reported that days after the Fukushima accident, China’s State Council decided to halt approvals and licensing for new reactors until a safety plan was in place.
Currently, China runs 21 nuclear power reactors, generating 19,095 MW of power. An additional 27 units are under construction, which would yield around 30,000 MW of electricity, when completed.

Zimbabwe's vice president, once seen as Robert Mugabe's heir apparent, has been fired along with eight Cabinet allies, the government said as the veteran leader purged his foes.
As the elderly head of state sought to quell infighting over his successor, the chief secretary to the Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said in a terse statement that Joice Mujuru had been fired.
Also sacked were her allies in the ministries of energy, public service, and half a dozen other departments, he said.
The move caps a long campaign by Mugabe and his closest lieutenants to isolate the 59-year-old Mujuru and her supporters.

December 11

Google said it plans to close its news-linking service in Spain in response to legislation under which publishers will soon be able to force Internet sites to pay for re-publishing headlines or snippets of news.
In a statement, the search giant said the new law makes the Google News service unsustainable and that it will remove Spanish publishers from Google News sites worldwide and shut down this service in Spain on 16 December.
The move also means readers in Latin America and around the globe will no longer find links to articles from any Spanish news publishers on Google News.
The change to the copyright law, which is set to take effect in January, only applies to news aggregation sites such as Google News or domestic rival Meneame.

The Prime Minister of Crimea, the former Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia, arrived for unofficial talks in New Delhi as President Vladimir Putin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a summit.
Sergey Aksyonov met a Mumbai businessman to discuss boosting trade with the Black Sea region. India does not support Western sanctions against Russia, but the meeting may prove an irritant before President Barack Obama visits India in January 2015.
Russian officials declined to comment, but a senior diplomat arrived with Mr. Aksyonov at an upscale New Delhi hotel for the meeting to sign a memorandum with a business group called the Indian-Crimean Partnership.

December 12

US passes bill to use force against Integrated Scientific Information System (ISIS).
A key US Congressional committee has passed a bill authorising use of military force against the dreaded Islamist State militant group that has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
The Authorisation for Use of Military Force (AUMF) bill allows the President to use military force against ISIS for up to three years.
US court jails Indian for running Ponzi scheme.
A 37-year-old Indian Sachin Uppal has been sentenced to over five years in prison for running a USD 3.8 million Ponzi scheme whose victims include several of his family friends.
According to court documents, Uppal ran a trading company from July 2007 through September 2013 but was not a licensed investment adviser. He marketed his company to potential investors and solicited investor funds, describing it as a ''hedge fund''.
Several of Uppal’s victims were family friends. This phenomenon, known as ‘affinity fraud’, often targets members of identifiable groups, such as a religious or ethnic communities or clubs.
Indonesian editor accused of blasphemy for cartoon.
Indonesian police accused the top editor Meidyatama Suryodiningrat of a leading English-language newspaper of blasphemy after the paper published a cartoon depicting the flag of the militant Islamic State group that allegedly insulted Islam.
The cartoon published July 3 put a skull and crossbones in the black-and-white flag of the militant Islamic State group and left sacred phrases in Arabic, including ''Allah'', that appear on the flag inside the skull.

December 13

Talk, or the whole region will suffer: Pakistan delegation.
Mr. Leghari is leading a 12-member Pakistani Parliamentary delegation to India for the sixth round of Pakistan-India Parliamentary Dialogue, an initiative by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency.
The Dialogue was co-chaired by Mr. Leghari, from the Pakistani side and Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member, from India. The Indian side had 25 participants.
Mr. Leghari said there was something wrong on the Indian side with respect to talks. ''Nawaz Sharif has always been ready to talk. Talks for talks are necessary'', he said “We have a strong appetite for improving relations and peace, but talks are not a concession from Pakistan. Talk if you want to or else the whole region will suffer.
Lima talks: New draft text introduced without consultation.
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore, former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Peru's President Ollanta Humala, and Peru's Environment Minister and President of the COP, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, gathered at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru.
Delegates from more than 190 countries are meeting in Lima, to work on drafts for a global climate deal that is supposed to be adopted next year in Paris.
Islamic State Twitter account handler arrested.
Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the handler of a pro-Islamic State twitter account @ShamiWitness, was apprehended in Jalahalli, Bengaluru.
He was particularly close to the English-speaking terrorists of ISIS and became a source of incitement and information for the new recruits trying to join ISIS/ISIL.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts. It has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

December 14

Japan’s ruling coalition won a resounding victory.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 14 December 2014 was re-elected for another four-year term.
He was re-elected after Japan's ruling coalition (Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito) won a two thirds majority in the Snap elections held for the Lower House (House of Representatives) of the Bicameral legislature, the National Diet.
The elections saw the voter turnout at 52.7 percent, which was a post-World War II record low. The turn-out was also down nearly 7 percentage points from the previous lower house election in 2012.

December 16

Pakistani Taliban kills 141 people in Peshawar.
Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school and killed 141 people 132 were children and nine were staff members.
The militant outfit claimed the responsibility for the attack and said that it was a revenge for the military's operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar. Presently, Pakistan’s military is carrying out Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber-I against militants of the nation.
Back Ground:
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also known as Pakistan Taliban.
Headquarters: North Waziristan.
Leaders: Maulana Fazlullah.

December 17

U.N. Security Council renews cross-border Aid Delivery to Syria for a Year.
The U.N. Security Council renewed for 12 months its authorization for humanitarian access without Syrian government consent into rebel-held areas of Syria at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.
The resolutions authorized aid deliveries across Al Yarubiyah on the Iraq border, Al-Ramtha from Jordan and Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa from Turkey.
The UN says some 12.2 million Syrians now need humanitarian aid, an increase of 2.9 million people in just 10 months. Nearly half of the Syrian population is displaced with more than 7.6 million internally displaced and over 3 million refugees in neighbouring states.
U.S. slaps Sanctions on oil trading firms of Switzerland, Netherlands Companies over Syria.
The United States slapped sanctions on Dutch and Swiss oil trading firms for their dealings with the Syrian government, which has been engaged in bloody civil war with rebel forces.
The U.S. Treasury put Netherlands-based Staroil B.V. as well as two Swiss-based firms, Rixo International Trading Ltd and Bluemarine SA, on its list of sanctioned entities, which effectively cuts them off from the U.S. financial system.
The US Treasury also put sanctions on several officials from the firms, as well as on a Company based in Syria and another from the United Arab Emirates.

December 18

UN General Assembly wants to refer North Korea to ICC for human right abuses.
The U.N. General Assembly formally adopted a landmark resolution calling for referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court for human rights violations.
The resolution has drawn keen attention because it would be the first-ever U.N. resolution calling for the North's referral to the ICC.
The UNGA adopted the resolution with 116 accepted votes to 20 rejected votes. More than 50 countries abstained from voting.
The resolution also called UNGA to consider targeted sanctions against the Pyongyang leadership for the repression of civilians in North Korea.

December 19

Pakistan beats India in race to become CERN associate member.
Pakistan became Associate Member Sate of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
Pakistan had applied for the CERN associate membership in February 2013.
CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer and the Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Ansar Parvez, signed a document in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Associate Membership will allow Pakistan to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council and allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes.
India along with Japan and Russia have observer status.
India was given "Observer" status in CERN in 2002.
About CERN:
European Organization for Nuclear Research Known as CERN.
CERN discovered the Higgs Boson popularly known as the "God particle".
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
Membership: 21 member states and 7 observers.
President: Agnieszka Zalewska.
Lakhvi booked again; to remain in jail.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a key planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, is still detained at a Pakistani jail despite being granted bail by an anti-terrorism court.
Lakhvi (54) was detained for three months under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
Lakhvi was to be freed from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi but the government detained him there for three months under the 16 MPO(Maintenance of Public Order).
Previously, Pakistan court granted bail to 26/11 accused Lakhvi.
LeT(Lashkar-e-Taiba) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one the seven Pakistani nationals accused of planning and abetting the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was granted bail on by the Anti-Terrorism Court(ATC).
The ATC granted the bail on a bond of Pakistani Rs. 5,00,000.
Seven accused are facing trial in connection with the Mumbai attacks case.

December 20

Ebola death toll in 3 African countries crosses 7000.
The three African countries(Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) hit hardest by Ebola have now recorded 7,373 deaths among 19,031 cases known till now reported by World Health Organization (WHO).
About EBOLA:
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976.
In 1976, Ebola (named after the Ebola River in Zaire) first emerged in Sudan and Zaire.
Therapeutic drug for Ebola: Zmapp developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

December 21

Arrest warrant issued against Pakistan Taliban chief Fazlullah for attack on Karachi airport.
Anti-terrorism court (ATC) issued non-bailable arrest warrants against TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) chief Mullah Fazlullah, spokesman Shahidullah Shahid and six other as the main accused in the terrorist attack on the Karachi airport in June.
ATC judge in Karachi, Bashir Ahmed Khoso issued the warrants for the absconders and asked the investigating officer to arrest and produce them in court by January 8 after the inquiry team submitted its investigation report before the court.
About ATC:
Anti Terrorism Court was established in Pakistan, under Nawaz Sharif’s government, to deal with terrorism cases.
It has been created by the 1997 Anti-Terrorist Act, amended on 24 October 1998.
India exports first warship ‘CGS Barracuda’ to Mauritius.
The warship, christened CGS Barracuda, will be handed over to the Mauritius coast guard, and is expected to cost $50 million ( Rs. 300 crore).
'CGS Barracuda’ built by defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) in Kolkata, the $58.5 million ‘CGS Barracuda’ measures 74.10m in length.
It is capable of moving at a maximum speed of 22 knots with an approximate displacement of 1350 tonnes.
It has been designed for the usual OPV tasks - anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching and search and rescue. The additional capabilities include: pollution response, external fire fighting, and the movement by sea of troops.
GRSE (Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd).
Established: 1884.
Nationalised: 1960.
Headquarters: Kolkata.
Chairman and managing director: Rear Admiral A.K. Verma.

December 22

Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany agreed to hold new round of peace talks on Ukraine.
The negotiations talks will be held in Belarusian capital, Minsk on 24 December and 26 December 2014.
The talks will involve Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The agreement to hold a new peace talks was reached during a conference call between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia separatists has killed more than 4,700 people, according to the United Nations.
WTCIS signs agreement with NIESBUD to promote small businesses.
The World Trade Center India Services Council (WTCIS) has signed an agreement with National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) to promote and develop small businesses in the country.
NIESBUD is an organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which is engaged in training, consultancy as well as research, to promote entrepreneurship.
WTCIS would assist NIESBUD in promotion and development of entrepreneurial environment through training, research and consultancy, besides assisting organisations in developing and promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment.
WTCIS Director: Khair Ull Nissa.
Director General, NIESBUD: Mr. Arun Kumar Jha.

December 23

Agreement signed between the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).
The central banks of China and Nepal have signed a supplementary agreement to expand the use of local currencies for border trade.
The agreement was signed between the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) The agreement will boost bilateral trade and investment ties between the China and Nepal.
The China and Nepal also signed a memorandum of understanding on anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism cooperation.
PBOC (People's Bank of China) governor: Zhou Xiaochuan, Currency: Yuan.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB): Yubaraj Khatiwada, Currency: Rupee.

December 24

Global arms treaty comes into force to check transfer of weapons.
The Global Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013 came into force on December 24, 2014 will regulate the $85 billion global arms trade and will help in preventing transfer of weapons to terrorists and human rights abusers.
The treaty will be a new chapter in the international community's efforts to bring responsibility, accountability and transparency to the global arms trade.
It aims to regulate the industry and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights violators worldwide.
India has not signed the treaty as it was among the 23 nations that had abstained from voting on the treaty in 2013. According to India, draft treaty annexed to the resolution is weak on terrorism and non-state actors and these concerns find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty.
About: Global arms treaty
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons.
61 states have ratified the treaty, and a further 69 states have signed but not ratified it.
The ATT is a tool for States to prevent the violence and insecurity resulting from the flow of arms, and in so doing to fulfill their human rights obligations.

December 25

Ukraine parliament takes step towards NATO membership.
Ukrainian Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a bill that enables the country to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Ukraine dropped the non-aligned status to join NATO.
The non-aligned status was adopted by Ukraine in 2010 under Russian pressure which prevents states from joining any military alliances.
About NATO:
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Established: 4 April 1949.
Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.
Members: 28 member states across North America and Europe.
Recent Members:  Albania and Croatia joined in 2009.
Secretary general: Jens Stoltenberg.
Chairman of NATO Military Committee: Knud Bartels.
AK-47 Maker Kalashnikov Applies to Register AK-47 Trademark.
The Russian manufacturer of Kalashnikov assault rifles has applied to register a word trademark of the world's best-known weapon, the AK-47, including for toys, media reported in Moscow citing court documents.
Kalashnikov Concern has filed an application "for registration of a word trademark of AK-47 including for goods of 28 class under the International Classification of Goods and Services''.
Designer: Makhail Kalashnikov.
Designed: 1946 - 1948

December 26

Pakistan army kills Peshawar school attack 'facilitator'.
Pakistani security forces have killed a Taliban commander("Saddam") who allegedly facilitated the Peshawar school massacre, which left 150 people dead in the country's worst ever terror attack.
Commander Saddam was a dreaded terrorist in the Pakistan Taliban or TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan), who was killed in an exchange of fire with the security forces in Jamrud town of Khyber tribal area, which borders the northwestern city of Peshawar. Six of his accomplices of were injured and arrested.
The Pakistani military says it has killed more than 1,700 militants so far in its heavy offensive in the tribal zone, with 126 soldiers having lost their lives.

December 27

Malaysia and Thailand floods: At Least 24 Dead and 1.6 lakh evacuated.
The worst flooding in Malaysia in more than a decade has killed 10 people and forced nearly 160,000  Over the border in southern Thailand, 14 people have been killed in the floods. 
The massive flooding, caused by torrential northeast monsoon rains.
Northeastern Malaysia and southern Thailand are regularly hit by flooding during the annual northeast monsoon, but this year the rain has been particularly heavy.
Kelantan, one of the worst-affected areas, is led by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and is one of the poorest States in the country.
Malaysian Prime Minister: Najib Razak.

December 28

AirAsia Flight 8501 carrying 162 lost over stormy Indonesian waters.
An AirAsia plane with 162 people aboard lost contact with ground control after takeoff from Surabaya in Indonesia on the way to Singapore.
Aircraft and ships that spent several hours searching Indonesian waters turned up no sign of an AirAsia plane 8501.
It is the third major aviation incident involving Malaysia this year. In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people, and in July, a jet from the same airline was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.
About AirAsia
Established: 1993.
Commenced operations: 1996.
Slogan: Now Everyone Can Fly.
Head quarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Chairman: Tony Fernandes.
Myanmar’s largest city Yangon holds first elections in 60 years.
First Municipal Elections in 60 years were held in Myanmar for electing the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).
Until now, positions within the YCDC have been fully appointed by Yangon’s unelected mayor, and most major positions within the organization will remain that way after the vote.
The ballot for the YCDC was the first chance to vote under the country’s quasi-civilian government, which replaced outright military rule in 2011.
Voting Restrictions
Voting was limited to one person per household and the age of the candidates were narrowly prescribed. Further there was a ban on political parties taking part in the campaign.
As a result, only 4 lakh of the Yangon’s several million residents were eligible to vote for the elections.
Just under 300 candidates, including businessmen, retired civil servants and activists, are competing for 115 positions on the committee, although the top posts will remain largely appointed.

December 29

AirAsia flight QZ8501 likely at the bottom of the sea.
The missing AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 is likely to be at the bottom of the sea, the search is continuing for the aircraft, a day after it disappeared with 162 people on board, but no trace has been found so far.
The Indonesia AirAsia plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
Flight QZ8501 did not issue a distress signal and disappeared over the Java Sea five minutes after requesting the change of course, which was refused because of heavy air traffic.
Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said the search was focused on an area of 240 square kilometres between the island of Belitung, off Sumatra, and Borneo island.
China blocks access to Google's Gmail service.
Google popular email service has been blocked in China, and anti-censorship advocates are blaming the country's mass censorship apparatus—known as the Great Firewall of China.
As part of it, large numbers of Gmail Web addresses were cut off in China from 26 December 2014 and the service was still down on 29 December 2014.
The update was confirmed by, a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group. Also, Google's own real-time traffic to Google services displayed a sharp drop-off in traffic to Gmail from China.
People who wish to access their Gmail accounts in the country will need to use a virtual private network, which can allow access to blocked sites and services.
Yet the Gmail users could still access emails downloaded via protocols like IMAP, SMTP and POP3. These had let people communicate using Gmail on apps like the Apple iPhone's Mail and Microsoft Outlook.
About Gmail
Launched: April 1, 2004.
Owner: Google.
Created by: Paul Buchheit.

December 30

Palestinian-backed resolution fails at U.N. Security Council.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) rejected a resolution demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories within three years, i.e. 2017.
The resolution needed support of at least nine members of the 15-member UNSC. But the resolution succeeded in winning only eight votes.
Russia, China, Chad, Chile, France, Argentina, Jordan and Luxembourg voted in favour of the resolution. While, the US and Australia voted against it. On the other hand, UK, Lithuania, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda abstained from voting.
The motion on the resolution was submitted in UN by Jordan after it was agreed and supported by 22 Arab states and the Palestinian Authority.

December 31

AirAsia 8501 crash: First body identified; eighth body found.
Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea on December 28 with 162 people aboard.
Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea while en route to  from Surabaya, Indonesia due to weather.
The bodies of eight people killed on AirAsia Flight 8501 have now been recovered and one of them has been identified.
The identity of passenger Hayati Lutfiah Hamid was confirmed using fingerprints and other means.