international - 2018 JULY

July 3

World Bank to support Bangladesh to manage Rohingya crisis
The World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced The World Bank’s support to the Bangladesh government in managing the Rohingya crisis in a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the Secretariat in Dhaka.
The World Bank lent Bangladesh amount of over US $3 billion, which is the second largest among the countries in the world that they had financed.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar and are considered as illegal immigrants.
More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees are languishing in crowded and flood-prone Bangladeshi refugee camps. They fled a brutal Myanmar military campaign launched in August 2017.

China approves $1 billion aid to Pak despite FATF ban
China's 1 billion dollar loan to Pakistan has come at a time when the South Asian country has been officially placed on a terrorism financing watchdog's grey list.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), while taking the decision, argued that Pakistan failed to act against terror financing on its soil. The FATF is a global body that tightens the noose on terrorists by combating their financing and money laundering.
The idea behind putting Pakistan in the FATF grey list is to deplete its economy and eventually pull the plug on terror groups. But several experts believe, China's loan to Pakistan in distress times like this, might act as a shot in the arm of terrorism.

July 4

US think tank announces India US Fellows Exchange programme
A prominent American think tank announced a fellows exchange programme aimed at enabling India and the US to better harness technology to improve the lives of their citizens.
Funded by the Ford Foundation, the programme by New America will bring fellows from India to the United States, and fellows from the United States to India, in order to devise novel technology-based solutions to policy challenges.
The aim of this program is to enable both countries to better harness technology to improve the lives of their citizens, and to improve and strengthen the bilateral relationship between India and the United States.

July 5

Tokyo Unveils World's First All-Digital Psychedelic Art Museum
The world’s first digital Psychedelic art museum opened its doors to the public in Tokyo, Japan allowing patrons to step all the way into the artworks.
Attendees are able to move freely through the 9,000-square meter interactive gallery. The exhibition itself is linked in real-time to the real-world seasons, which means that no two trips to the museum will be the same.

July 6

Russia offers to jointly design, build submarines
India has received a joint submarine design and construction proposal from Russia to build on the technology transfer acquired while building the nuclear fleet, and promises to drastically reduce the cost of Navy’s next-generation vessel plan.
The proposal, believed to have been discussed at the top level during the Sochi summit in May, offers an alternative to an upcoming $10 billion P 75I tender for six new diesel electric submarines that the Navy requires.
These are to be fitted with an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that significantly increases their ability to stay underwater.

India wants to operate world's emptiest airport in Sri Lanka
India goes on a joint venture to operate the loss-making Mattala international airport in southern Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan government.
Mattala International Airport the world’s emptiest airport to operate through India-Sri Lanka joint venture.
Mattala airport, named after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was a China-supported infrastructure project in his home district of Hambantota.
It is a USD 210 million facility and is named the ‘world’s emptiest airport’ due to a lack of flights. The only international flight operating from there was halted in May due to recurrent losses and flight safety issues.

July 7

UN member states approve USD 6.69 billion for 13 peacekeeping operations in 2018-19
The UN member states approved a USD 6.69 billion dollar budget for 13 peacekeeping operations for the year 2018-19, besides agreeing to major management reforms, including the creation of two new departments focused on political and peacebuilding affairs.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the General Assembly recommended authorisation of USD 6.69 billion to finance 13 peacekeeping missions from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. It is the second year in a row in which the committee has made significant cuts to the overall peacekeeping budget.
The missions include MINUJUSTH (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti), MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic), MONUSCO (Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon).

July 8

UK launches new visas open to Indian scientists, academics
The United Kingdom has launched new visas that will be open to overseas scientists and researchers, including Indians, to encourage the growth of the country's research sector.
The new UKRI Science, Research and Academia scheme, which is being added to the already existing Tier 5 (Temporary Worker Government Authorised Exchange) visa route, opened for researchers, scientists and academics from outside the European Union (EU) to come to the UK for up to two years.

Indian warship INS Trikand reaches Sri Lanka in goodwill visit
India's latest frontline warship INS Trikand has reached Sri Lanka in a goodwill visit. Sri Lanka Navy ceremonially welcomed the state-of-the-art warship in accordance with naval traditions.
INS Trikand is a state-of-the-art warship of the Indian Navy equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors capable of addressing threats in all three dimensions - air, surface and sub-surface.
Senior Indian officers, including Assistant Defence Adviser of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka - Lieutenant Colonel Ravi Shekhar Mishra - held discussions on matters of mutual interest with their Lankan counterparts.

July 10

China, India clinch deal to reduce tariffs on Indian medicines, anti-cancer drugs
China has clinched a deal with India on the reduction of import duties on Indian medicines including anti-cancer drugs, which are highly expensive in the country.
Beijing, which earlier announced a cut on import duties on over 8,500 Indian items, it will relax taxes on more goods from India and other countries as its trade war with the US heats up.
As discussed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Wuhan summit in April, China has granted more access to Indian pharmaceutical companies.

July 11

UN Security Council adopts resolution to protect children in armed conflict
The Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.
Resolution 2427, which won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the council, strongly condemns the recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abductions.
The resolution also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict and all other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.

India constructs library for Nepali academicians
Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated a library built by the Indian Government in the presence of Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri.
The Indian Embassy handed over a three-storied building for the Library of the Nepal Academy.Nepal received financial assistance of NRs. 43.94 million from India for construction of the building.
The inaugural event was attended by representatives of Ministries of Urban Development, Culture, Civil Aviation and Tourism, Government of Nepal, community leaders and a large number of friends of the India-Nepal relationship.

July 12

New UK-India MoU strengthens legal cooperation
Cooperation between the UK and India in areas of law and justice has been strengthened following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed.
UK Justice Secretary David Gauke and Indian Minister of Law, Justice, Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, met in London to further strengthen bilateral working.
The MoU will enhance engagement between the two countries and pave the way for greater collaboration and exchange of expertise across areas including Rule of Law, dispute resolution, training, and legal services regulation. Both sides also agreed to closer cooperation between the members of legal professionals of the two countries and the formation of a joint consultative committee.

July 13

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres constituted High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres constituted a High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
The panel will be co-chaired by Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. The Panel has a total of 20 members, representing a cross-section of expertise from Government, private industry, civil society, academia and the technical community.

INS Tarangini Visits Sunderland to Participate in Tall Ship Races – 2018
INS Tarangini arrived at her seventh port, Sunderland in the UK, during her #Lokayan-18 voyage and also to participate in the prestigious ‘tall ship races – 2018’.
Lokayan is a combination of two Sanskrit words: ‘Lokya’ meaning worldwide and ‘Yana’ meaning travel, thus literally meaning, ‘travel around the world’.
INS Tarangini commenced ‘Lokayan-18’ on 10 Apr 18 from Kochi, India and is set to cover a distance of over 20,000 nautical miles, with a crew of 9 officers, 30 officer sea trainees and 43 sailors.
The voyage will take seven months and Tarangini will have the honour of displaying the Indian flag at 15 ports across 13 countries.

Portugal parliament approves new gender change law
The Portuguese parliament has approved a law that will allow citizens to change their gender and name from the age of 16 without a medical report showing "identity disruption".
Portugal joins Denmark, Malta, Sweden, Ireland and Norway to become "the sixth European country to grant the right to self-determination of transgender identity without the guardianship of a third party and without a diagnosis of identity disruption.

July 14

Integrated Indian visa application centre inaugurated in Dhaka
A new integrated state-of-the-art integrated Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) was jointly inaugurated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan at Dhaka's Jamuna Future Park.
The High Commission of India in Dhaka, the new IVAC in Jamuna Future Park will replace the existing IVACs in Motijheel and Uttara. The remaining two IVACs in Dhaka (Gulshan and Mirpur Road) will also be shifted to the new facility by August 31. Thereafter, only one IVAC will be functional for all categories of visa applications without prior appointment, as per a release by the High Commission of India in Dhaka.

South Africa unveils new telescope aimed at galaxies
South Africa has unveiled a powerful radio telescope, part of an international project that will provide new details on the Milky Way and other galaxies.
New radio telescope unveiled by South Africa for clearer image of distant galaxies. They are releasing the “clearest view yet” of the centre of our galaxy through this telescope.
It is known as the 64-antenna MeerKAT, which was completed after a decade of design and construction.
The Square Kilometere Array or SKA telescope had support from various countries like Canada, China, India, Italy, Britain, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and New Zealand. It has a radio telescope site in Australia as well as in South Africa.

July 15

India, Pakistan to be part of anti-terror SCO drill in Russia
Militaries of India and Pakistan will be part of a mega anti-terror drill in Russia next month which is being organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with an aim to expand cooperation among the member countries to deal with terrorism and extremism.
Around 200 Army and Air Force personnel from India will be participating in the exercise scheduled from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia.
The exercise will be joined by all SCO member countries including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

July 16

First land-based communication link between Pakistan and China open
An optical fibre cable project that would be the first land-based communication link between China and Pakistan has been launched.
Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk inaugurated the Pakistan-China Optical Fibre Cable project that has been completed in two years and will help develop the telecom sector in Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The link will also contribute to enhance security of the schemes falling under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The project includes an 820-km-long underground optical fibre cable (OFC) from Rawalpindi to Khunjerab and a 172-km aerial OFC link from Karimabad to Khunjerab.
The project, launched as part of the CPEC, also has 26 high-capacity microwave links as backup to the OFC network and nine node centres in different locations.

July 18

EU and Japan sign trade deal covering a third of the world's economy
European Union (EU) and Japan have signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). It was signed at EU-Japan summit in Tokyo by EU Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It is biggest ever trade deal negotiated by the EU and creates free trade zone covering nearly third of the world’s GDP. The trade deal is set to eliminate the "vast majority" of the $1.1 billion in duties that EU companies pay to Japan, according to the European Commission.

UNEP partners with Google for monitoring impact of human activity on global ecosystem
UN Environment Programme and the search engine giant Google have entered into a partnership to monitor the impact of human activities on how it affects the global ecosystem. The activity will be monitored through the use of sophisticated online tools.
The partnership aims at developing a probable platform that would enable NGO's, governments and the public to track all important environment-related developments via Google's user-friendly front end. Initially, the focus here will be on the freshwater ecosystem that pertains to natural resources like mountains, rivers, lakes, aquifers, forests and wetlands.

First commercial flight in 20 years leaves Ethiopia for Eritrea
The first commercial flight to Eritrea in two decades departed from Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, after the two nations ended their bitter conflict in a whirlwind peace process.
Ethiopian Airlines indicated that flight ET0312 to Asmara had left Bole International Airport, after a ceremony inaugurating the flight, which chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam described as a "unique event in the history of Ethiopia and Eritrea".

July 19

UK selects Scottish site for first spaceport
The UK has selected the site for its first spaceport. The chosen location is Sutherland, on the A’Mhoine peninsula on the north coast of Scotland. Local business development agency the Highlands and Islands Enterprise will receive £2.5 million in funding ($3.3 million) from the UK government, and the first rocket launches are planned for the early 2020s.
The spaceport is being built with the hope that the UK can grab a slice of the growing market for small satellite launches. The country is already home to many component and satellite makers, like Printech Circuit Laboratories and Surrey Satellite Technology, and adding the ability to launch satellites locally would increase its international appeal.

July 20

Air Force To Participate In "Pitch Black" War Exercise With Australia
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in the multinational "Pitch Black" warfare exercise in Australia.
The IAF contingent for the July 24-August 18 biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise will consist of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, four Su-30MKI fighters, one C-130 special operations aircraft and one C-17 transporter.
Pitch Black is hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and will see eight other nations participating with over 100 aircraft.

July 21

Facebook To Launch Its Own Internet Satellite In 2019
As part of its plan to connect billions of people who are still offline, Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019.
Facebook appears to have filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the name PointView Tech LLC, the project is designed to "efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world".
Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk''s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.

London aims to become world’s most ‘walkable’ city
The British capital has launched an action plan to become the world's most walkable city.
The 'Walking Action Plan', released by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's team, aims to encourage a million additional walking trips each day by 2024.
Under the new plan, streets will be designed, built and managed to encourage walking, with better signposting and maps, as well as new, wider pedestrian crossings.

Myanmar joins International Solar Alliance
Myanmar joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), becoming the 68th member of the grouping that is aiming at optimum utilisation of solar energy.
Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin handed over the ISA Framework Agreement to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a bilateral meeting on the margins of this year's Delhi Dialogue, the premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

July 23

PM Modi departs for 3 nation visit to African countries
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left on a three-nation visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa. In the first leg of his five-day visit, Mr Modi will reach Rwanda. India will extend two lines of credit of 100 million US Dollars each for agriculture and industrial sectors to Rwanda during his two-day visit to that country.
On second leg he will leave for Uganda where he will call on the President. He will have delegation-level talks and will address Indian community. Two lines of credit worth 164 million US Dollars will be extended to Uganda during the visit. In the last leg of his visit, Prime Minister Modi will reach South Africa to attend the 10th BRICS summit at Johannesburg.

July 24

India and Rwanda signed eight agreements
India and Rwanda signed eight agreements following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali. The two countries signed agreements in the fields of Defence, Trade, Agriculture, Leather and allied products and Dairy.
India also extended two Lines of Credit of 100 million US dollars each – one for development of industrial parks and Kigali Special Economic Zone, and the other for three agricultural projects in Rwanda. Mr Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Rwanda on the first leg of his three-nation tour to Africa.

July 25

Japan passed law to legalise casino gambling
Japan's parliament passed a controversial law to legalise casino gambling paving way for up to three casino resorts to open.
The law limits Japanese citizens to three casino visits per week and 10 per month out of concerns about gambling addiction. Further, admission will be free for foreigners while local residents will be charged a fee.

IAF contingent participates in Exercise Pitch Black for first time
An Indian Air Force contingent comprising of four frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft participated in Exercise Pitch Black-2018, a multinational exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The fighters, supported by a C-130J Super Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster-III, landed at Darwin Air Force Base in Australia.
This is the first time the IAF is participating in this exercise that involves over 100 aircraft from around the globe operating in a dynamic warlike environment.

July 28

PM Narendra Modi Africa tour: 5-day state visit to Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa
The Prime Minister Modi reached Rwanda’s capital Kigali for a two-day visit from July 23-24, 2018.He became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Rwanda.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to RwandaP.M.Narendra Modi attended India-Rwanda Business Forum in Kigali.
India, Rwanda signed eight agreements in various fields, the two countries signed a defence cooperation agreement.
India extended USD 200 million line of credit to Rwanda, to open a High Commission in Kigali
PM Modi gifted cows to 200 households in Rweru model village in Bugesera under Rwandan Government’s Girinka Programme
PM Modi gifted 200 cows to villagers in Rwanda’s at Rweru village to support President Paul Kagame’s initiative of poverty reduction and child malnutrition.
Modi also visited the Genocide Memorial Centre which honours over 250,000 victims of Rwanda’s mass killings in 1994.

A new Ebola species has been found in bats in Sierra Leone
The ministry of health of Sierra Leone, has confirmed that a new strain of Ebola virus named Bombali Virus (BOMV) has been discovered in bats in the Bombali district of Sierra Leone.
It’s not yet known whether the new strain can develop into Ebola disease, if it is transmitted to humans.Researchers are working with the Sierra Leone government to find out whether any humans were infected.
People have been warned not eat bats as a precautionary measure to prevent the disease.

July 30

International Army Games 2018 declared open in Moscow
The International Army Games 2018 at Patriot Park in Moscow region,Russia region was declared open by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Indian teams are taking part in two major competitions- Tank Biathlon event at Alabino ranges, Moscow region and Elbrus Ring competition in Caucasus Mountains.
The games are being held at 24 training grounds in seven countries namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, China and Russia.
It is for the first time that Armenia and Iran are co-hosting events of the Army Games.

July 31

India on Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 list of US, sign of trust in bilateral relationship: Indian envoy.
The Trump administration placing India in the Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) list, that eases the export of high-tech items to it, is a sign of trust by the US on India’s capabilities as an economic and a security partner and boosts the bilateral defence partnership in a big way, India’s top diplomat in Washington.
The granting of STA-1 status to India comes after the US recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” in 2016. Sarna’s remarks came during his address to Washington audience soon after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross designated India as an STA-1 country.
The top Indian diplomat was responding to a question from Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India business council, during a panel discussion at the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum organised by the US Chambers of Commerce.
Currently, 36 countries, mostly all NATO nations, have this status, so it’s a very elevated status from an export control point of view.