international - 2017 MARCH

March 1

Russia and China Veto New U.N. Sanctions on Syria.
Russia and China vetoed new U.N. sanctions on Syria and the U.S. ambassador accused both countries of refusing to hold President Bashar Assad's regime accountable for the use of chemical weapons.
The U.N. Security Council after the vote. They turned away from defenseless men, women and children who died gasping for breath when Assad's forces dropped their poisonous gas.
The Trump administration recently joined France and Britain in sponsoring the resolution, and Haley minced no words in denouncing the "outrageous and indefensible choice" that Russia and China made.
President Donald Trump had warm words for Russian President Vladimir Putin while campaigning but Haley has now criticized Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula as well as Syria.

EU member states approve visa-free travel for Georgia.
European Union member states approved visa-free travel for Georgia, after agreeing safeguards to prevent any upsurge in arrivals from the former Soviet satellite.
Georgia, along with much larger Ukraine, has been urging the EU to grant visa-free travel so as to show its citizens that close ties with Europe can deliver concrete benefits.
Under the accord, which now requires formal signature by the 28 member states and the European Parliament, Georgian citizens will be able to travel visa-free for 90 days in the EU during any 180-day period.  The accord does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland.

March 2

Malaysia to cancel visa-free entry for North Koreans.
Malaysia will cancel visa-free entry for North Koreans entering the country starting next week as diplomatic ties between the two countries fray further following the murder of Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
North Koreans will be required to obtain a visa as of March before entering Malaysia for national security reasons.
Malaysia is one of the few countries that North Koreans could visit without a visa. A reciprocal arrangement made Malaysians the only foreigners given visa-free entry to the secretive, nuclear-armed state.

March 3

Vice President Hamid Ansari Attends IORA Summit in Jakarta.
Vice President Hamid Ansari was on a two-day visit to Indonesia to attend the 21-nation Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia from March 6-7, 2017.
The theme of Summit is 'Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean'.
IORA has 21 member states, including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, and Yemen.

March 4

United States to temporarily suspend premium processing of H-1B visas.
The US announced that from April 3 it will temporarily suspend the 'premium processing’ of H-1B visas that allowed some companies to jump the queue as part of its efforts to clear the backlog'.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would start accepting the H-1B visa applications for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1, 2017, from April 3.

China to increase military spending by 7 per cent in 2017.
China says it will increase military spending by about 7 per cent this year; just days after Donald Trump outlined a boost to the US defence budget.
The scheduled announcement was made ahead of the annual National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing.

Iran successfully test-fired a sophisticated Russian-made air defence system.
Iran successfully test-fired a sophisticated Russian-made air defense system, the official IRNA news agency reported.
S-300 system came during a recent military exercise named Damvand, the name of Iran's highest mountain.
The test targeted various flying objects including missiles. With a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) the S-300 is capable of simultaneously tracking and striking multiple targets.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's Visit to United Kingdom and Nepal.
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was on a 5 day visit to United Kingdom from February 24-28, 2017 particularly to represent India at the royal event of 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was in Nepal on March 2, 2017 to address the Nepal Investment Summit 2017 at Kathmandu.
This is the first investment summit in Kathmandu, The summit was attended by over 250 delegates from more than 20 countries including India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, America, Russia and Canada.

March 5

Somalia's PM announces deaths of 110 due to hunger, diarrhea.
Somalia's Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has announced the deaths of at least 110 people due to hunger and diarrhoea in the country over the past 48 hours amid a drought in the Bay region, the southwest part of the country.
The Somalian government declared the drought as a national disaster. The drought has led to a spread of acute diarrhoea, cholera and measles and nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

Malaysia expels North Korea ambassador over Kim murder.
Malaysia expelled the North Korean ambassador over the murder of the half brother of North Korea’s autocratic leader, Kim Jong-un.
Kang Chol was declared ''persona non grata'' after his country ''could not trust'' Malaysia's handling of the investigation, and that the investigation was being interfered with. He has been given 48 hours to leave the country.

March 6

Sri Lanka Wins 'Most Popular Tourism Destination Award'.
Sri Lanka won the 'Most Popular Tourism Destination Award' at the Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF) in China.
The island nation won the prestigious award for the second consecutive year which is a testament to its growing popularity among Chinese travel enthusiasts.
China has been Sri Lanka's second largest source market for tourism since 2014. The volume of visitors to this event has been increasing annually and this has enabled Sri Lanka to gain greater exposure and visibility for its unique destination brand.

Military trials for Civilians got approved at Bahrain Parliament.
Bahrain has approved a constitutional change allowing military courts to try civilians, a move widely criticized by activists.
The island's 40 member Consultative Council, the upper house of the Bahraini parliament appointed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
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.

EU decide to create headquarters for military training.
Member of the European Union have reached a deal to create headquarters for military training operations, a move aimed at developing a foreign and security policy independent of NATO and the United States.
The first task of the headquarters, which will be located in Brussels, will be to streamline anti-terrorist efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Somalia.

March 7

US President Donald Trump signs new travel ban, exempts Iraq.
US President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order imposing a 90-day travel ban on visitors to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries.
The order will not take effect until March 16 this year.
The new order affects six of the seven countries included in the first executive order but leaves out Iraq.

China overtakes eurozone as world's biggest bank system.
China's banking system has overtaken the eurozone to become the world's biggest by assets.
Statistics show Chinese bank assets hit $33 trillion at the end of 2016, versus $31 trillion for the eurozone. US assets stood at $16 trillion and the Japanese at $7 trillion.
The value of China's banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of the country's annual economic output, compared with 2.8 times for the eurozone and its banks.

March 8

International Yoga fest to begin in New Delhi.
The two-day International Yoga fest will begin in New Delhi. Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the fest at Talkatora stadium.
More than 3,500 participants including eminent yoga gurus, yoga masters, scholars, policy makers and representatives from 15- 18 countries will participate in this mega event. 
It will comprise parallel yoga workshop, lectures, Satsang, cultural programmes and yoga demos. There will be exhibition of more than 50 stalls where books, DVDs, yoga appliances and other yoga related products will be displayed. 

New Israeli law bars entry for its foreign critics.
Israel's parliament voted 46-28 in favour of a bill to bar foreign nationals, who publicly support an anti-Israel boycott, from entering the country.
Israel faces a global boycott movement over its nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian territories.
The lawmakers described the boycott movement as a war against the country for which it was not prepared properly.
British PM Theresa May suffers second defeat in House of Lords over Brexit Bill.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered a second Brexit Bill defeat in the House of Lords as peers backed, by 366 votes to 268, calls for a meaningful parliamentary vote on the final terms of withdrawal.

March 9

'India by Nile' fest to begin in Egypt.
India has organized the fifth edition of the mega cultural festival 'India by the Nile' in Egypt on 8th March to showcase the diversity of the country's culture, arts and cuisine for building enduring partnership between the two ancient civilizations.
For the first time, the Indian flag will be projected onto the Giza Pyramids as part of the celebration. The festival, to be held in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Port and Ismaila governorates from March 8 to April 27, 2017.
It is the largest cultural foreign festival in Egypt and has been a great success in the country.

Georgian Citizens Allowed to Visit EU Without Visa From March 28.
The Georgian nationals will be allowed to visit countries of the European Union for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa starting from 28th of this month.
The Council of the European Union adopted the regulation on visa liberalization for Georgia. Georgia had been striving for visa liberalization with the 28-nation bloc for years.

March 10

10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV).
The 10th edition of the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV 2017) was held in New Delhi from March 7-9, 2017.
The theme is 'Building Knowledge Societies-From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment'. 
The Objective of ICEGOV 2017 is focused on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses & civil society. 
It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad. 

Hindu Marriage Bill passed in Pakistan National Assembly.
Pakistan National Assembly has passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, after amendments made by the Senate, to regulate marriages of Hindus in Pakistan.
There was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters in Pakistan.
The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage in addition to protecting the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community.

Paddleboarder makes world-first Atlantic crossing.
A South African man Chris Bertish has become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard after completing an epic 4,050-mile voyage alone at sea.
Chris Bertish pulled into Antigua, in the Leeward islands of the Caribbean after departing from Agadir, Morocco, 93 days ago. Bertish, 42, a big-wave surfer as well as a sailor, who won the renowned Mavericks surf contest in northern California in 2010, had contended with sharks, storms and loneliness on the adventure.
His journey was accomplished on a custom-built 20ft-long board, built for $120,000 (£99,000). The board was designed by a British boat designer and naval architect, Phil Morrison, and took six months to construct.

March 11

Pakistan to amend constitution to set up military courts.
The Pakistan's Law Minister Zahid Hamid introduced two constitutional amendment bills in the National Assembly (lower house) for the revival of the military courts that had ceased to function on January 7, 2017 after the expiry of their two-year term.
The two bills introduced includes, the 28th Amendment Bill-2017 and the Pakistan Army Amendment Bill-2017.
The first bill seeks to restore military courts, while the second is aimed at enabling trial of terrorism-related cases under the Pakistan Army Act 1952. The proposed amendment authorizes the military to try any suspect on terrorism-related charges.
After adoption by the lower and upper houses of the parliament that is the National Assembly and the Senate respectively, the president will sign these into laws to revive the tribunals for another period of two years.
A similar amendment was adopted in 2015, the 21st (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015, allowing military courts to carry out trials of militant suspects for two years period.

United Kingdom faces Rs. 14,000 crore fine over Chinese imports scam: European Union.
The British government faces a €2 billion fine (over Rs. 14,000 crore) for negligence that allowed criminal gangs to flood European black markets with illegal Chinese goods.
France, Germany, Spain and Italy collectively lost €3.2 billion (over Rs. 22,000 crore) during 2013-2016 in VAT revenues, as a result of British failures in handling imports at its ports.

March 13

Pakistan set to conduct its first census in 19 years.
Pakistan is set to conduct its first national census in 19 years which will begin with the assistance of over 200,000 troops.
Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor and Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb addressed a joint conference about preparation for the sixth census, which will be conducted in two phases and will be completed on May 25.
Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time.

March 14

United Kingdom parliament gives final approval for Brexit bill.
In UK, the House of Lords has passed the Brexit bill, paving the way for the government to trigger Article 50 so the UK can leave the EU.
Peers backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal after their objections were overturned by MPs.
The Prime Minister theoretically invokes Article 50, which formally starts the Brexit process. The EU Withdrawal Bill was passed unamended after peers voted by 274 votes to 118 not to challenge the Commons again over the issue of whether Parliament should have a veto on the terms of exit.

March 15

European court allows employers to ban workers from wearing religious symbols.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, the highest court in the European Union recently passed a ruling, allowing companies to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols including Islamic headscarves at work.
The court, however, added that if a company does not have a policy barring their staff from sporting the religious symbols then customers cannot demand workers to remove their headscarves.
This ruling was issued as a joint judgment in the cases of two women from France and Belgium, who were dismissed from their workplace for refusing to remove their headscarves.

Saudi Arabia Inaugurates Girls Council But Without Any Girls.
In a bid to encourage women participation in workforce, Saudi Arabia has for the first time decided to launch a Girl’s Council.
However, the encouraging initiative became more talk of the town, when none of the female member of the council was present on the stage at its first Qassim Girls Council meeting.
The meeting in the al-Qassim province was attended by 13 male members while the women were present too but they were in another room, linked via video due to strict Saudi laws on gender segregation between unrelated men and women.
The meeting was led by province governor, Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Saud while the girls council is chaired by his wife, Princess Abir bint Salman.
Saudi Arabia is taking steps to move toward loosening some of its rules and increasing women's participation in the workforce from 22 per cent to 30 per cent as part of its Vision 2030 programme.

March 16

Population census calculation launched in Pakistan.
Pakistan has launched a countrywide census, the first in nearly two decades. The census, started with the assistance of over 2 lakh troops, is being conducted in two phases.
At least one soldier will accompany each civilian enumerator going from house to house to enlist the number of households and individuals living there.
The census will be completed on 25th of May. The final outcome would be known by July and it may lead to demarcation of constituencies ahead of the General elections next year.

March 17

China, Saudi Arabia ink deals worth about $65 billion.
China and Saudi Arabia have signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and letters of intent (LoIs) potentially worth about $65 billion.
These agreements signed during Saudi King Salman's visit to China involve deals in investment, energy, space and other areas.
Saudi Arabia also has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market as it lost its market share to Russia in 2016.
The Saudi King visited China as part of his month-long Asian tour to 7 seven countries as part of his ambitious economic reform plan.

March 18

G20 finance ministers drop anti-protectionist pledge.
G-20 nations have dropped a long-standing anti-protectionist pledge and a vow on action against climate change, after opposition from the United States.
The Finance ministers from the world's largest economies met in the southern German town of Baden-Baden, but failed to renew their pledge to bolster free trade.
They issued a statement saying that they were working to strengthen the contribution of trade to their economies.

March 19

57 billion US dollar announced by World Bank for sub-Saharan Africa.
World Bank has announced 57 billion US dollar financing for sub-Saharan Africa over the next three fiscal years.
Of that total, 45 billion dollar will come from the International Development Association, the World Bank fund that provides grants and interest-free loans for the world's poorest countries.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a statement the package will also feature an estimated 8 billion dollar in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation, a private-sector branch of the World Bank, and 4 billion dollar will come from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the bank's unit for middle-income nations.

March 20

Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain promulgates Hindu Marriage bill as law.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has promulgated the Hindu Marriage bill into a law. The Act will protect Hindu marriages and family rights.
The legislation prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage in addition to protecting the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community.
It also introduces the concept of judicial separation. The legitimacy of children born out of void and voidable Hindu marriages has also been protected under the bill.

March 21

Bill Gates named world's richest man on Forbes.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again topped the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest billionaires.
Gates, whose wealth is estimated at USD 86 billion, led the list for the fourth straight year. He was followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett among the top 10 billionaires, a group heavily dominated by Americans, many of whom work in the technology sector.
Buffett's wealth was estimated at USD 75.6 billion. Others in the top 10 included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at number three, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg at number five and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison at number seven.
The global billionaire population jumped 13 percent from last year to 2,043, the biggest annual increase in the 31 years since the magazine began compiling the list.
The US led countries with the most billionaires with 565, a product of the swelling value of the American stock market since Trump's November 2016 election. China was second with 319 billionaires, and Germany was third with 114.

Laptops, tablets from 6 Middle East nations on flights banned by United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has announced a ban on electronic devices larger than mobiles, including laptops and tablets, from cabin baggage on flights from six Middle Eastern countries.
The ban affects travelers from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
This follows reports that the US has imposed similar restrictions on flights originating from several Middle Eastern and North African nations.

March 22

Bill on NASA funding, Mars exploration got approval from US President Trump.
US President Donald Trump signed a bill authorising 19 (point) 5 billion US dollar funding for the NASA programmes and setting a new goal to send humans to Mars.
The law, known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act, gives the space agency the funding for fiscal year 2018.
It also asks the agency to create a plan to send a "crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s''. Opening a new vista to human exploration of the space, Trump signed the bill in his Oval Office of the White House in the presence of the Vice President Mike Pence.

Iceland consider increase tax over tourism sector.
Iceland is considering ways of raising taxes in the tourism sector or limiting visitors' access to popular tourist destinations.
The government is considering to mandate a special license for tour operators and bus companies or hiking the existing levy on hotel rooms.
In Iceland "Some areas are simply unable to facilitate one million visitors every year''.

March 23

India MoU with USA on partnership for Cyber Security got approval from centre.
The Union Cabinet approved the Indo-United States MoU that intends to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. 
The MoU was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-ln) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the US Homeland Security Department on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security in Delhi on January 11. 
Previously, the two countries had signed an MoU on July 19, 2011 to promote a closer cooperation and timely exchange of information between the organisations of their respective governments responsible for cyber security.
High court in Pakistan orders separate counting of Sikhs in census.
High court in Pakistan ordered authorities to ensure separate counting of Sikhs in the nationwide census. Earlier, Sikh community members filed a plea for not being counted among the religions included in the first national headcount in 19 years.
The Peshawar High Court ordered that the section of Sikhism be included in the religion column in the census form.
The first phase of the 6th census which started on March 15 had clubbed Sikhs with the Scheduled Castes of the country while separately counting the Muslims, Hindus, Christians and some other groups.

India Notifies Amended Tax Treaty with Singapore.
The government notified the amended India-Singapore tax treaty under which capital gains tax will be levied at source of investments with effect from April 1, 2017.
India had amended the tax treaty with Singapore on December 30, 2016, under which for two years capital gains tax will be imposed at 50 per cent of the prevailing domestic rate. Full rate will apply from April 1, 2019.
The revision of tax treaty will help curb revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation and streamline the flow of investments adding that the amended tax treaty has been notified.

March 24

UNHRC grants Sri Lanka's request for two-year extension to deliver war probe.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has granted South Asian country, Sri Lanka a two-year extension to fulfill obligation relating to reconciliation and accountability on war crimes during the civil war which ended in 2009.
The resolution granting the country the extension was approved by 40 including the United States and the United Kingdom.
It welcomed the steps taken by Sri Lanka to implement UNHRC resolution, adopted in October, 2015.
Minority groups and human rights activists have been critical of Sri Lankan government for slow progress in war crimes probe and accountability measures.
New PERU launched by Sri Lanka to create awareness on reconciliation among children.
Sri Lanka unveiled a new Peace Education and Reconciliation Unit (PERU) to create awareness on reconciliation among children.
Former President Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Chairperson of Office for National Unity and Reconciliation media that the programme has got excellent response from teachers and community members and will be instrumental in creating harmony amongst ethnic groups.
PERU will be coordinated by a team consisting of a member from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim community. The former President also revealed that a committee has been set up to look into the textbook syllabus and revise elements which are against minority community.

March 25

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's US Visit Reinforces Counter-Terrorism Cooperation.
The Trump Administration is seeking to deepen its counter-terrorism cooperation with India and expand it further, sources in Washington after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's meetings with top US officials.
Mr. Doval during his US visit met Defense Secretary, Gen (Rtd) James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security Gen (Rtd) John Kelly, and National Security Advisor Lt Gen H.R. McMaster.
Expansion and deepening of India-US co-operation in collectively addressing the challenge posed by terrorism in South Asia was the common agenda in all these meetings.
Defense Secretary Mattis specifically applauded India's efforts to promote stability in the South Asia region and both leaders reaffirmed building upon the significant defence cooperation progress made in recent years.

Resolution on protecting heritage Sites approved by UN Security Council.
United Nations Security Council strengthened its protection of global cultural heritage sites threatened by armed conflicts, saying perpetrators of unlawful destruction could be prosecuted for war crimes.
From the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan to the ancient shrines of Timbuktu, deliberate attacks against the world's great heritage sites have multiplied in recent years.
In a unanimously approved resolution, the Security Council called for a systematic protection of cultural heritage sites, following early steps taken in the aftermath of the attacks by Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria.

March 26

Bangladesh celebrates 46th Independence Day.
The Bangladesh Liberation War was a revolutionary independence war in South Asia during 1971 which witnessed the birth of the modern state of Bangladesh. On March 26 Bangladesh celebrates its Independence Day.
Bangladesh's President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at National Memorial in Savar paying respects to those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom.
The memorial will then be adorned with flowers and wreaths offered by political parties, social and cultural organizations, and people from all walks of life. After placing the wreath at the National Memorial, the prime minister will attend a gathering of children at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Government and non-government organizations will organise various programmes across the country to celebrate the day. The day marks the beginning of the fight by Bengalis in erstwhile East Pakistan for freedom.

Thousands march in London to protest against Brexit.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of London to demand plans for Brexit are reversed.
The protest is being held just days before Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50, which will formally start the process of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
It also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the EU's precursor.

March 27

UN conference to negotiate binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons begins.
The conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons begins at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
More than 100 countries are expected to take part in the negotiations. They will likely focus on how to substantiate the illegality of nuclear weapons.
The treaty is to ban nuclear weapons based on the interpretation they are in breach of international laws. About 123 UN members announced that they would launch the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding nuclear ban treaty, even as most of the world's declared and undeclared nuclear powers voted against the talks.

Pakistan Begins Building Fence along Border with Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, Pakistan has started constructing a fence along the Afghan-Pakistani border to restrict the Islamist militants from Afghanistan to cross the border and launch attacks on Pakistani soil.
Pakistan and Afghanistan shares 2,400 kilometer (1,500 mile) internationally recognized border known as the Durand Line, drawn by Britishers in the 19th century when they dominated South Asia.
As per Bajwa, the border fencing started in the Pakistani Bajaur and Mohmand districts bordering eastern Afghan provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar.
In addition, Pakistan's military plans to build more than 420 small forts along the border and deploy radar sensors to detect cross-border movement of militants.

March 28

India Not Participating in UN Conference for Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons.
The United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination, began at New York.
It is the first multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations since past 20 years.
Also for the first time, India is not participating in the conference, taking into account the nation’s own interests. However, India would stay in touch with the developments taking place at the conference.
The United Nation General Assembly passed a resolution in October 2016 to set up the conference on global nuclear weapons ban. More than 120 nations participated in the vote.
However, India abstained from voting on that resolution along with China and Pakistan. Britain, France, Israel, Russia and the US protested the UN resolution voting no against the ban.

Petroleum pact renewed between India-Nepal.
India and Nepal have renewed the supply agreement between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) for another five years.
''The renewed agreement is an umbrella document between the two parties which apart from detailing the supply of petroleum, oil and lubricant products and also puts in place an institutional mechanism for cooperation in the areas of additional services and technical assistance between the two''.
Supplies to Nepal from India have been meeting the petroleum product requirements since 1974.
Both countries are at present working toward further deepening engagement in the oil and gas sector, including construction of petroleum product Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline.

March 29

Donald Trump offers to host Narendra Modi later this year: White House.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US President Donald Trump when he travels to Washington later this year. President Trump is looking forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in Washington later this year.
President Trump also expressed support for the Prime Minister's economic reform agenda and emphasized his great respect for the people of India.
The US President in a telephonic conversation congratulated PM Modi on the outcome of recent state elections. This was the third telephonic conversation between the two leaders after Trump's electoral victory.

United States signs executive order to roll back Obama's climate change measures.
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to nullify his predecessor Barack Obamas climate change efforts, raising questions over Americas leadership in the international campaign against global warming.
Trump signed the order at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), keeping his campaign promise to support the coal industry.
The executive action is a historic step to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations.
This decision is the latest in the series of steps to create American jobs and to grow American wealth.

March 30

British PM Theresa May signs letter to trigger Brexit.
Britain is set to formally file for a divorce from the EU after Prime Minister Theresa May signed a letter to notify the economic bloc about the country's intention to initiate a two-year negotiation process for its departure.
The letter, giving official notification to other 27 European Union (EU) members that Britain has invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, will be delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk by British ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow.
It sets the clock for the two-year negotiation process for Britain’s relationship with the EU as a non-member. Over the next two years, the terms of the settlement will be thrashed out between Britain and its 27 counterparts.
It follows a referendum in June 2016 in favour of Brexit. Unless that time-frame is extended, Britain will leave the economic bloc by March 29, 2019.

Turkey ends its military campaign in northern Syria.
Turkey has announced end of its military campaign inside northern Syria without specifying whether it will pull its troops out from the neighbouring country. With this, Turkey's half-year long offensive in Syria has been concluded successfully.
In August 2016, Turkey had launched Operation Euphrates Shield inside Syria targeting Islamic State (IS) terrorists and Syrian Kurdish militia fighters (declared as terrorists by Turkey).
Since the onset of the unprecedented operation, Turkey-backed Syrian rebels had captured everal towns including Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Dabiq and finally Al-Bab from militants.
The strategic town of Al-Bab was the terrorists last stronghold in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.

March 31

Israel approves new settlement for first time in 2 decades.
Israel's Government has approved the first West Bank settlement in two decades. Decision in this regard was taken in Security Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The new settlement will be built near the existing settlement of Shilo, which is nearby to the Amona site, an illegal settler outpost that was demolished in February 2017 under the orders of Israel's Supreme Court.
West Bank and east Jerusalem are disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians which were captured by Israel in 1967, as parts of a future state.

El Salvador becomes first country in the world to ban metals mining.
El Salvador, Central America's smallest nation, has become the first country in the world to ban metals mining nationwide.
The new law, supported by 70 lawmakers, bans all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals both in open pits and mines.
The level of environmental pollution in El Salvador is one of the highest in the region and the availability of drinking water is the lowest, according to UN data.


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