international - 2016 MARCH

March 1

Reformist-backed candidates in Tehran sweep to election victories.
Final results for the Tehran constituency in twin Iranian elections show a sweeping victory for reformist-backed candidates in the race for parliament and the assembly of experts.
Results showed seats being shared three ways between Mr. Rouhani’s reformist and moderate allies, conservatives and independents.
The candidates took all but one seat in the assembly a powerful clerical body responsible for appointing the next supreme leader and enjoyed a clean sweep of all 30 seats allocated to Tehran in the 290-seat Iranian parliament.
The returns were shaping up as a strong signal of public support for last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In contrast, 15 of 16 members of the Assembly’s list in Tehran headed by Mr. Rouhani and his top ally Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former President.
About Iran
Capital: Tehran
Currency: Iranian rial
President: Hassan Rouhani

March 2

China navy launches first self-propelled floating dock.
China’s navy has launched its first self-propelled floating dock, giving it the ability to repair warships far from the coast.
The dock, the Huachuan No. 1, would enable the navy to return damaged ships to fighting capability “in very rapid time” and was designed to be sent into combat zones.
The ship's launch marks a further breakthrough in shifting repairs to our military's large warships from set spots on the coast to mobility far out at sea.
The use of the dock means that ships with minor damage will not have to be taken out of service, while those with severe damage will not have to return to a shipyard.
The dock can handle cruisers, destroyers and submarines, but not aircraft carriers, and cope with waves up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) high.
Beijing has invested billions developing its homegrown weapons industry to support its growing maritime ambitions in the disputed South China Sea.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year.
About China
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi
President: Xi Jinping

MoUs with Japan and Russia in the various fields of Railways.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of the following Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs).
Ministry of Railways have signed MoC/MoUs for technical cooperation in the rail sector with various foreign Governments(Japan & Russia) and National Railways.
The identified areas of cooperation include high speed corridors, speed raising of existingroutes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure.
About MoC/MoUs:
The MoC signed between Ministry of Railways (MoR) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Japan on technological cooperation in Rail Sector.
The MoU signed between Ministry of Railways and Joint Stock Company ''Russian Railways'' on technical cooperation in railway sector.
The MoU signed between Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) and Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), Japan on technological cooperation in railway sector.

March 3

UNSC approves tough sanctions against North Korea.
The United Nations Security Council voted to impose a broad array of sanctions against North Korea Because of that nation's recent nuclear test and missile launch.
The sanctions will result in all cargo going to and from the country being inspected, while 16 new individuals and 12 organizations have been blacklisted.
About Sanctions:
All countries must inspect cargo in all airports and sea ports destined for and coming from North Korea.
Ban or severe restrictions on exports of iron and iron ore, coal, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea and prohibits the supply.
Ban on aviation fuel exports to North Korea, including kerosene-type rocket fuel.
UN member states will expel North Korean diplomats engaged in smuggling or other illegal activities.
Countries working in North Korea’s financial and banking sector are obliged to freeze assets of companies and other entities linked to its missile and nuclear programmes.

About North Korea
Capital: Pyongyang
Currency: North Korean won
President: Kim Jong-un

South Korea passes first Anti-terror Bill.
South Korea’s Parliament has passed the country’s first anti-terror bill that was first proposed 15 years ago in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in US.
Among total 300 parliamentary seats of the National Assembly, only 156 lawmakers voted in favour of country’s first anti-terrorism legislation.
About Anti-terror Bill:
Allow National Intelligence Service (NIS) to collect personal information, conversation and location in mobile phones from suspected terrorists.
Intelligence agencies including NIS will report to the Prime Minister before they exercise their new power.
Prime minister headed committee will decide anti-terror policies to be formed, as well as an anti-terror centre under the committee to manage related policing authorities.
Those found guilty under this law can face capital punishment of life imprisonment or over 10 years’ incarceration and those who join a foreign terrorist group can face over 5 years imprisonment.

March 4

New York gets world’s most expensive train station at 9/11 site.
14 years after the tragic 9/11 attacks, New York is set to welcome the world's most expensive train station at the same place.
It has been named World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
The station was constructed at whooping cost of 3.85 billion dollars making it most expensive station in the world.
It has been designed by the Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava who has called it a gift of love to the city.
The station space measures 107 metres (350 feet) long by 35 metres (115 feet) at its widest point.
The station building is called Oculus and made up of steel ribs and glass laid out in elliptical shape, reaching for the sky like wings of a bird.
It is expected eventually to serve more than 2 lakhs commuters daily.

About USA
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Currency: United States Dollar
President: Barack Obama

March 5

India files trade complaint against US over temporary work visas.
India has filed a complaint in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the US decision to impose high fees on temporary working visas.
US had imposed fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the country.
US measure is inconsistent with the global norms and it would impact Indian IT professionals as it makes Indian IT companies less competitive in that market.
These measures appear to be ''inconsistent'' with the terms, limitations and conditions agreed under the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services).
India has asked for consultations with the US under the aegis of the WTO to resolve the issue.
The request for consultations is the first step in a dispute at the dispute settlement system of the WTO.

About USA
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Currency: United States Dollar
President: Barack Obama

March 6

UK military to join Nato refugee patrols in Aegean Sea.
The Royal Navy is sending a ship equipped with a team of Royal Commandoes to assist with the Nato mission in the Aegean Sea.
It was aimed at tackling people smugglers.
The prime minister announced that the Royal Navy was deploying the amphibious landing ship RFA Mounts Bay as the first UK contribution to the Nato.
The vessel, which carries a Wildcat helicopter, will join naval vessels from Germany, Canada, Turkey and Greece as part of Nato’s first intervention in the migration crisis.
The announcement came several hours after another boat carrying people sank with the loss of 25 lives including at least three children. Fifteen people were rescued after the boat capsized near the Turkish resort of Didim.
European leaders come under increasing political pressure at home to stem the flow of refugees and migrants.
Turkey hosts more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees, and has warned that tens of thousands more who have fled a Syrian government advance on Aleppo were seeking to join them.
About UK
Capital: London
Currency: Pound sterling
Prime minister: David Cameron

Philippines to seize N. Korean cargo ship under U.N. sanctions.
A North Korean ship has been seized by the Philippines as part of strict new measures against the rogue state.
The Jin Teng is one of 31 ships operated by North Korean firm Ocean Maritime Management, which is subject to an asset freeze and sanctions.
The Philippines government it will impound the Jin Teng and eventually deport the crew.
The Jin Teng was sailing under a Sierra Leone flag. Pyongyang reacted to sanctions by firing six short-range missiles into the sea.
Leader Kim Jong-Un later ordered that the country’s nuclear weapons should be ''ready for use'' at any time.

March 7

South Korea, US begin exercises as North Korea threatens attack.
South Korean and US troops began large-scale military exercises in peninsula an annual test of their defences against North Korea
The 8-week long drill will involve about 300000 South Korean troops and 15000 US personnel.
These are being conducted near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas and off the eastern coast of South Korea.
Drills will include ground, air, naval and Special Operations components apart from the computer-simulated training.
North Korea has warned South Korea and US of indiscriminate and pre-emptive nuclear strikes if the two allies go further with the drills.
About North Korea
Capital: Pyongyang
Currency: North Korean won
Prime minister: Kim Jong-un

March 8

U.K. visa fees set to increase.
The decision by the British government to increase visa application fees across-the-board.
It was a major impact on migrants from India - the country from where a large segment of entrants seeking to live and work in the U.K. come.
The increase in fees ''linked most closely to economic growth'' such as those offered to workers and students will increase by 2 per cent, as will tourist visas.
Settlement, residence and nationality fees will be increased by 25 per cent; while optional premium services offered by the Home Office such as the super premium service and priority visa services overseas will be increased by 33 per cent.
According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, of the top 10 nationalities who were granted entry clearance visas (that excludes visitor and transit visas) to the U.K.

March 9

North Korea claims to have built miniature nuclear warheads that fit on ballistic missiles.
North Korea has miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal.
Kim has called for his military to be prepared to mount pre-emptive attacks against the United States and South Korea and stand ready to use nuclear weapons.
U.S. and South Korean troops began large-scale military drills, which the North called ''nuclear war moves''.
Kim also inspected the nuclear warhead designed for thermo-nuclear reaction.

March 10

China should become part of SAARC structure.
Globalisation is putting pressure on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to change its traditional ways of working.
The message behind the trend of globalisation is that the region has to include China, which has now become a “South Asian country” for all practical purposes.
This is because the South Asian countries, be it India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, were having very close and strong ties with China in terms of trade and development.
Emphasising the need for changes in the two fundamental provisions of the SAARC Charter, a time-frame had to be fixed for the continuance of the two provisions- decisions at all levels to be based on unanimity and exclusion of bilateral issues.
On the structure of the SAARC secretariat, Prof. Ahmed called for the appointment of a former Prime Minister or President from any one of the member-countries of the region as Secretary General.
About China
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi
President: Xi Jinping

March 11

Arab League declares Hezbollah group a terrorist organization.
The Arab League has declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah, a Shia political organisation a terrorist group.
The move comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had adopted the same stance.
All-22 Arab League members supported the decision except Lebanon and Iraq expressed reservations.
Hezbollah (Party of God) is a Shia political organisation created by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s.
The United States, Canada and Australia already have listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group and the European Union (EU) has also blacklisted its military wing.

March 12

India, US launch Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship.
India and the US have launched the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship, in a new initiative to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change.
The Indian research scholars to work with American institutions in the field.
It will sponsor up to 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to work with US institutions for a period up to one year.
The fellowship has been named after late Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
It will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme. It will be jointly funded by both the governments. For Extra Information....
About USA
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Currency: United States Dollar
President: Barack Obama

March 13

UN adopts measure to tackle sex abuse by peacekeepers.
The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution to take strong action to confront the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers.
The United States, requests UN Secretary-General to replace all military and police unit of a troop or police contributing country in UN peacekeeping operations.
It was the first time that the council has approved measures to address the rise in troubling allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers deployed worldwide to protect civilians in conflict.
Fourteen members of the 15-nation Council voted in favor of the resolution. Egypt abstained.
Before voting for the resolution, the Security Council voted for an amendment to the resolution proposed by Egypt, which was intended to slightly adjust the language on conditions of contingent repatriation.
The resolution is first-ever of its kind to confront increasing allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse conducted by peacekeepers.
It is in response to UN secretary-general’s annual report on measures to curb sexual exploitation and abuse within the UN system.

March 14

Amid South and East China Sea disputes, China plans to set up maritime judicial.
China's Supreme Court is setting up its own international maritime "judicial centre" to handle territorial disputes.
It was announced by China’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC).
The decision has been taken to ensure the protection of country's sovereignty and rights at sea.
This move will help China to bolster its claims in the disputed South and East China seas and also help it become a maritime power.
Presently China is locked in disputes with its neighbours over claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.
Due to the disputes with Japan involving a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, and claiming the most of the South China Sea where other countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam also have competing claims, the Chinese courts have heard 16,000 maritime cases.
About China
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi
President: Xi Jinping

March 15

Malawi, UNICEF tested first UAV flights for early diagnosis of HIV in infants.
UNICEF is trialling the use drones to reduce waiting times for HIV test results in rural Africa.
The UN's children's charity has started testing a 10 km flight route in Malawi, west Africa, with a custom made drone from Matternet.
Though drones were used in the past for surveillance and assessments of disaster, this is the first known use of UAVs in Africa for improvement of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services.
While still in testing, if the flights prove cost-effective the drones will be able to carry up to 250 tests, or 1 kg of samples, at once.
After successful completion of further tests, the drone services will be integrated into the health system alongside others existing mechanisms such as road transport and short message service (SMS).
About South Africa
Capital: Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein
Currency: South African rand
President: Jacob Zuma

March 16

India Emerged As The Second Biggest Investor In London.
India has emerged as the second biggest investor in London after the US with country's tech firms investing in the British capital at an unprecedented rate.
Since 2005 there has been a 117 per cent increase in Indian companies across all business sectors investing in London, with a 133 per cent increase in tech companies investing in the city.
The figures showed that Indian companies are the second biggest investor in London, ahead of China and Japan, but behind the US.
Major tech investments in London from India in recent years include software testing service Cigniti Technologies, customer support company Kayako and many others.
The worldwide expansion of Indian technology companies is also reflected in new figures released today that show venture capital raised by Indian technology firms has risen to record levels.

March 17

Bangkok slaps curfew on world's biggest water fight amid drought.
Songkran festival, often referred to as the world's biggest water fight festival at Thailand.
The Thai capital will impose a curfew during Thailand's annual water festival to show solidarity with farmers hit by drought.
Thailand is facing its worst water shortage in two decades, with 14 out of 76 provinces hit and large swathes of agricultural land at risk.
Thailand has entered its annual dry season, which typically runs from March to May, meaning the drought is likely to get worse.
The Songkran festival, which marks Thai New Year, is often referred to as the world's biggest water fight - a time when revellers splashing water on each other and everyone, young and old, is fair game.
A major tourist attraction, Bangkok's water parties typically run late into the night.

March 18

India Inks Social Security Agreement Pact with Australia.
India has entered into a social security agreement with Australia under which employees of India deputed to Australia and vice versa will not have to make double social security contribution.
The agreement, marking another big step to enhance ease of doing business, was notified by the Employees' Provident Fund Organization.
Under this agreement Australia has become the 14th country with which India has a social security agreement in force.
The others in the list include Korea, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungry, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.
As per the order, the employees of one country deputed by their employers to the other country on short-term assignment for a pre-determined period of up to 60 months need not remit social security contribution in that country.

March 19

Vladimir Putin Starts His Own Ratings Firm.
Vladimir Putin’s homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat.
Its joint venture in Moscow of 12 years and it will probably stop issuing local ratings on Russian companies,the ACRA, which stands for Analytical Credit Rating Agency, applied for a license to operate in Russia.
Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Ltd plan to stop issuing local ratings rather than agree to having their Moscow branches regulated by the Russian government at the cost of breaking international sanctions.
ACRA’s board is headed by an American, Karl Johansson, who advised the Russian government while at Ernst & Young LLP in Moscow.
Ekaterina Trofimova, a former banking analyst for Russia and former Soviet states at S&P, will run the new venture.

March 20

Agreement between EU and Turkey to tackle migrant crisis comes into effect.
An EU-Turkey deal to tackle the migrant crisis has formally come into effect.
Under this agreement, migrants arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey if their asylum claim is rejected.
All irregular migrants into Greece crossing from Turkey will be sent back.
The EU will resettle Syrian migrant for each Syrian returned to Turkey. In this case priority will be given to those who have not tried to illegally enter the EU.
It will be mandatory for Turkish nationals to have access to the Schengen passport-free zone. It will not be applicable to non-Schengen countries like Britain.
The EU is to speed up the allocation of €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in aid to Turkey to help migrants’ crisis.
Both signatory sides have agreed to re-energise Turkey’s bid to join the European Union (EU) bloc.

March 21

Nepal signed agreement with China to extend the strategic Tibet rail link to Nepal.
Nepal signed 10 agreements with China in Beijing. These include a landmark transit treaty to end its total dependence on India and extension of the strategic Tibet rail link to Nepal.
The agreements were signed during the Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s maiden visit to China and held wide-ranging talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and called on President Xi Jinping.
China firmly supported efforts of Nepal to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as the Nepali people's choice of development path. China also promised that it will not interfere in internal affairs of Nepal.
The two countries have also started working on the first draft of a free trade agreement.
Oli also discussed with China to establish a rail network connecting different cities in the country. This is besides the plan to extent the Tibetan railway to the Nepal border.
Beijing also offered concessional loan for a new airport in Nepal's Pokhara and a feasibility study for oil and gas survey projects.

March 22

Brussels came under terrorist attack.
Brussels was in news as the city came under terrorist attack. A series of explosions, claimed by the Islamic State, took place at the Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek metro station killing at least 34 people and injuring more than 200.
With this attack, Belgium became the second European capital that came under terrorist attack in a span of less than 5 months.
Earlier, on 13 November 2015, Terrorists attacked six locations around Paris killing around 130 civilians and injuring another 200 people and security personnel.
However, the attack on Belgium is of more strategic concern as the headquarters of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) are located in this city.

March 23

9th International Abilympics started in France.
9th International Abilympics started at Bordeaux in France. Abilympics is coined from Olympics of abilities of persons with disabilities.
It is a global work skills competition held every four years. The event aims to promote social awareness in the field of skills development and employment both locally and internationally, and foster friendship among the competing nations.
About Abilympics
The name Abilympics comes from the idea of organizing a competition to promote the skills of persons with disabilities. It combines Abilities with the idea of the Olympics.
The concept was developed in Japan in 1972 based on the model of the skills competition named WorldSkills and on the Paralympic Games.
That year, the first national final of the Abilympics was held in Tokyo under the banner Acquiring professional skills leads to a bright future.
The International Abilympics Federation (IAF) was officially created during the 3rd International Abilympics in Hong-Kong in 1991.

March 24

Ashok Leyland to partner with US firm to develop defence systems.
Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS), a division of Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland, selected US-based Lockheed Martin to develop light specialist vehicle and light armoured multi-purpose defence vehicles for armed forces.
Ashok Leyland would serve as the prime contractor and provide “cost effective” manufacturing hub for global requirements of the vehicles.
As a licensed manufacturer of CVNG, the association with Lockheed Martin opens up a huge opportunity towards exports of vehicle platform as a Made in India product.

March 25

Tech Mahindra expands presence in France.
Tech Mahindra, the information technology services entity, announced the launch of a development centre in Toulouse, France, to work on projects for existing partners and customers in the aerospace industry.
There are significant investments planned in terms of people, infrastructure, recruitment and training, as a part of Tech Mahindra’s commitment to strengthening its presence in France.
The company delighted to announce the inauguration of the new, expanded Delivery Centre in Toulouse, which marks a significant milestone for our organization.

March 26

Iran signs oil contract with France's Total.
Iran signed a confidential oil agreement with France's Total to develope the South Azadegan oil field shared by Iran and Iraq, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh.
Iran and the oil giant, Total, have agreed to keep the articles of the accord confidential, and the French firm is now "studying its participation in the development of the oil field''.
Iran reached an agreement with the Japanese Inpex a decade ago to develop the oil field, however, the Japanese company quit the project as a result of US sanctions against Iran's energy sector because of the disputed nuclear issue.
Iran and the world powers clinched a nuclear deal which enables the country to re-engage with the world's energy giants to develop its oil and gas fields.
About Iran:
Capital: Tehran
Currency: Iranian rial
President: Hassan Rouhani
Pakistan and Iran agree to boost cooperation on security and trade.
Pakistan and Iran agreed to boost security ties while bolstering bilateral relations in diverse areas of trade, economy and energy.
The two countries also signed six agreements and decided to open up two more crossing points along their borders.
The two sides also explored the possibility of sea trade through Gwadar and Chahbahar ports.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for five-year Strategic Trade Cooperation Plan was signed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir and Iran’s Minister of Industries Mohammad Nematzadeh.
Other agreements include cooperation between Pakistan’s Foreign Service Academy and Iran’s School of International Relations; cooperation and information exchange between Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Central Insurance of Iran; cooperation between Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture of Iran; cooperation for research, training on health, medicine and medical technology and cooperation between Institute for Political and International Studies of Iran and Karachi Council on Foreign Relations of Pakistan (KCFR).
About Pakistan:
Capital: Islamabad
Currency: Pakistani Rupee
Prime Minister: Nawaz Sharif

March 29

Greece passes law allowing migrants' return to Turkey.
The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) launched animate film series 'Unfairy Tales'.
The series seeks to help frame positive perceptions towards the tens of millions of children and young people on the move globally.
At least 65 million children and young people globally are on the move to escape conflict, poverty and extreme weather and find a stable life and a place to call home.
It is a collection of 3 animations that explain the horror behind fleeing of three children in real life.
One story ''Ivine and the Pillow'' –animates the true story of 14-year-old Ivine and her pillow.
''Malak and the Boat'', tells the tale of a young girl’s voyage in a leaky boat.
The third animation depicts the story of Mustafa, who after fleeing his home, wonders who is left to be his friend.

March 31

Outcomes of 13th India-EU Summit.
The 13th edition of India-European Union Summit was held on in Brussels, capital of Belgium.
The 13th summit laid out concrete priority actions for the strategic bilateral partnership in areas like trade and investment, climate, energy, water and migration in the next five years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi represented Indian side in the summit. While the European Union (EU) was represented by President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
About 13th India –EU Summit
EU-India Agenda for Action 2020
EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
Loan assistance to Lucknow Metro
G20 Skills Strategy
India-EU Water Partnership
India-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement
Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility
Arbitration procedure on the Italian Marines