international - 2017 MAY

May 1

Dubai becomes First City in World to gets its Own Microsoft Font.
Dubai has become the first city in the world to have its own Microsoft-designed font. The font will have typeface both in Latin and Arabic script.
It will be made available in 23 languages: Afrikaans, Arabic, Basque, Britannic, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Farsi, Portuguese, Sami, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish and Urdu.
The font was launched by the Crown Prince of Dubai Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The font will be used by UAE’s government bodies and also by 100 million Office 365 users around the world.

May 2

UNHRC to review India's Human Rights record.
India's human rights record came up for review under the Universal Periodic Review Process at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi presented India's endeavours towards observance of human rights supported by rights-oriented constitutional framework, secular policy, independent judiciary and free and vibrant Media.
India believes that the goal of achieving human rights calls for constant dialogue, engagement and coordination among various stakeholders. India remains convinced that inclusive and equitable development is the key to securing a life of dignity, security, empowerment and freedom for all.

May 3

United Nations marks 1st World Tuna Day with calls to conserve it to be caught, eaten.
The United Nations has marked the First World Tuna Day with calls to conserve one of the globe's most popular fish to be caught and eaten.
Tuna plays a critical role in sustainable development, food security, economic opportunity, and livelihoods of people around the world.
Tuna species, which are highly migratory, account for 20 per cent of the value of all fish caught and over 8 per cent of all internationally traded seafood. The General Assembly established World Tuna Day in December to reinforce its importance to nations around the globe.

China introduces lane-changing robot to ease traffic.
Traffic police in China's Shenzhen has debuted a new 'lane robot', the first of its kind in the country, which helps administer rush-hour traffic by controlling a section of reversible lanes.
The lane robot, which reduces the workload of police, is a guard rail that moves to alter the flow of traffic into different lanes in less than a minute.

May 4

Russia, Turkey, Iran ink deal on safe zones in Syria.
Turkey, Russia and Iran has signed 'safe zones' deal for Syria to encourage an agreement between the Syrian government and the rebel forces.
The deal was signed by the heads of the delegations that represents the three ally countries during peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital city, Astana.
The representative delegations reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the termination of hostilities during the two­day talk in Astana.
The main objective of the deal is to put an immediate end to the violence. To enable immediate delivery of relief supplies and medical aid. To provide safe conditions for the voluntary return of refugees.

Nepal Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendera Nidhi withdraws his resignation.
Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendera Nidhi has withdrawn his resignation.
Nidhi decided to take back his resignation after a meeting the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba at Kathmandu. Dahal and Deuba had requested him to withdraw his decision and make local polls a success.
Bimalendra Nidhi, who is a senior Nepali Congress leader, had resigned expressing dissatisfaction over registration of impeachment motion in Parliament against Chief Justice Sushila Karki.

May 5

United States: House of Representatives passes bill to repeal Obamacare.
In the United States, the House of Representatives has passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The passing of the American Health Care Act hands down a major victory to President Donald Trump who has been a strong critic of his predecessor, Barack Obama's signature healthcare bill.
The latest legislation was narrowly approved mostly along partisan lines, 217-213, with just one vote to spare. No Democrat backed the bill, and a number of Republicans opposed it as well.

India redrawing BBIN transport plan as Bhutan withdraws.
India is back at the drawing board on BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), an ambitious sub-regional transport project, even as Bhutan has shelved it for the time being.
The BBIN, which is promoted by India and aimed at creating seamless connectivity between the four countries for enhanced sub-regional trade and movement of people, suffered a body blow, with Bhutan announcing that it will not be able to ratify the plan before it addresses some of concerns raised domestically over the project.
''This is Bhutan's internal matter. The plan can come into force even without Bhutan. Just that India and the other three countries will have to redraw plan. They can join it once they are ready, but as a new member''.

Nepal's Supreme Court orders reinstatement of Chief Justice Sushila Karki.
Nepal's first woman Chief Justice ‘Sushila Karki’ has resumed office after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered her reinstatement and directed Parliament to put on hold the impeachment motion against her.
The court issued the order saying that the impeachment move was against the spirit of the country's Constitution.
Earlier, Justice Karki was suspended after an impeachment motion was registered in Parliament.

May 6

Russia blocks China's social media app WeChat.
Russia's telecoms watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has blocked China's popular messaging app WeChat for failing to fulfill the country's Internet regulations.
Roskomnadzor, known as the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications has listed WeChat, on the register of prohibited websites.
WeChat is China's most popular mobile social media platform with 889 million active users worldwide.

Jordan, United States launch major military exercises ''Eager Lion''.
Jordan and the United States kicked off annual military exercises known as "Eager Lion", with about 7,400 troops from more than 20 nations taking part.
Jordan and the United States will be going to start the Eager Lion, an annual military exercise. Eager Lion exercise is the seventh exercise and the largest and most complex.
The exercise would include border security, cyber defence, and ''command and control'' exercises to strengthen coordination in response to threats including ''terrorism''.
A global strike mission will be conducted by two US Air Force B 1B bomber aircraft. It is a long-range multi mission bomber and it is the first time it has been conducted.

May 7

India to hold festival in Egypt to mark Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary.
India will organize a cultural festival in Egypt to mark the 156th birth anniversary of the famous Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore.
Tagore Festival which is being organised by the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC), the cultural wing of the Indian Embassy in Cairo, from May 8-12 will feature a dance show, film screening, a play and painting competition.
The movie 'Kabuliwala' directed by Hemen Gupta will be screened at the Hanager Cinema, Opera House Complex. The movie is based on a novel written by Tagore about an immigrant from Kabul who forms a bond with a young girl in India who reminds him of his daughter in Afghanistan.
A dance drama based on Tagore's work called 'Chitrangada' presented by Dancers' Guild. Chitrangada is the warrior princess in the ancient Indian epic, Mahabharata. Dancers' Guild is a well-known dance company based in Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Bhutan says exit from BBIN motor vehicles pact is temporary.
Bhutan's temporary withdrawal from BBIN (Bhutan-Bangladesh-India-Nepal) Motor-Vehicles Agreement (MVA) dialogue may end up widening the scope of both bilateral and sub-regional cooperation.
Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (Bangladesh and Myanmar) in the Ministry of External Affairs, refuses to call it a pull out.
''Bhutan was finding it a little difficult to ratify the agreement. We requested Bhutan to allow us (Bangladesh, India and Nepal) to proceed with implementation, while Bhutan is to complete the process. They have responded to our request''.

China's C919 Passenger Jet completed its Maiden Flight.
China's home-grown C919 passenger jet has completed its maiden flight. China's C919 is a symbol of China's ambitions to take market share from Boeing and Airbus in the lucrative global jet market estimated to be worth $2 trillion over the next two decades.
It is a part of China’s broader ''Made in China 2025'' plan aimed at boosting its domestic high-tech manufacturing.

May 8

India unanimously elected to head UN­Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat. UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organization (UNO) reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
UN-Habitat promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world. India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after a gap of 10 years.
This is only the third time that India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after 2007 and 1988. The UN-Habitat was established in 1978.

Philippines, United States begin smaller-scale joint military exercises.
Philippine and United States troops begin smaller scale joint military exercise. It major focus will be on disaster response, humanitarian assistance and counter terrorism.
Balikatan or Shoulder­to­Shoulder 12 day military exercises were led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim. This year’s exercises will be based on a scenario of troops responding to a super typhoon hitting the Philippines.
The 5,400 personnel 2,600 Americans and 2,800 Filipinos will take part. It will be held at the Philippine military’s headquarters in metropolitan Manila.
The two countries are conducting the yearly training for the 33rd time. To ensure coordination and interoperability of their forces. Small contingents from Japan and Australia are also participating this year.

May 9

Nations urge United States to stay in Paris climate agreement.
Climate change negotiators are meeting in the German city of Bonn. They have called for the United States to stay in the Paris agreement. Delegates from some 190 countries and territories kicked off talks on rules to implement the accord.
The agreement, which took effect in last November, calls for all countries to set targets to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. US has sent a team to the meeting, but it is not clear how long the world's second largest emitter will remain engaged in the negotiations.
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to overhaul measures for tackling climate change that were introduced by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Trump has signaled that he will soon decide whether to pull his country out of the Paris Agreement.

India to replace Maitri station in Antarctica, expand research activity.
India has planning to replace its Maitri research station in Antarctica with a new one in the next three to four years.
India is drafting its own laws to safeguard its interest in Antarctica, as it is currently governed by international laws.
India assured to expand its research activity in the Antarctica and a new ship, with a special ice cutting facility, will be procured for the purpose.
The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi­disciplinary, multi-institutional program. It is controlled by National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
It was started in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica. Bharati is the newest base that was commissioned in 2015, constructed out of 134 shipping containers. India has carried out over 30 scientific expeditions to the Antarctic.

May 10

India protests Canadian PM's presence at 'Khalsa Day'.
India has protested the participation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 'Khalsa Day' in Toronto that saw felicitation of Sikh separatist elements and featured Khalistani flags and posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Mr. Trudeau has become the first Canadian Prime Minister to attend the 'Khalsa Day' event in a decade since Paul Martin in 2005.
The Khalsa Day event was organized to mark the Sikh New Year.

May 11

India, United States exchange views on maritime developments in Asia Pacific & IOR.
Top Indian and American officials discussed ways to strengthen maritime security cooperation during the two-day India-United States Maritime Security Dialogue in Rhode Island.
The two sides exchanged views on maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and considered steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation.
The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary Pankaj Sharma while the American delegation was led by David Helvey, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. The next round of the dialogues will take place in India.

United States approves USD 75 million chemical protective gear for Indian soldiers.
The United States (US) Government has approved the sale of $75 million worth high-tech chemical protective clothing for the Indian armed forces that will protect Indian soldiers against biological and chemical warfare.
The Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), it consists of 38,034 suits, pairs of trousers, gloves, boots, aprons, protective filters and hoods. The sale deal also includes 38,034 M50 general purpose masks.
India Government had made a request to US Government for these JSLIST as part of its military modernization programme.

May 12

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends Vesak Day Celebration in Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has participated in the opening ceremony of the 14th International Vesak Day (biggest festival of Buddhists) celebrations in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
More than 400 Buddhist delegates from over 100 countries have participated in the conference focused on 'Social Justice and Sustainable Peace'.
PM Modi addressed a gathering of Indian Tamils in Norwood of Nuwara Eliya district and inaugurated a hospital built with India's assistance of Rs. 150 crore.

United States imposes sanctions on Pak-based extremists, organizations.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Pakistan-based extremists and an organization run by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's JuD group as part of an effort to disrupt their leadership and fund-raising networks.
The sanctions have been slapped to disrupt the funding of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its front for charitable activities, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Dawa al-Qu'ran (JDQ), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and ISIS-Khorasan.
Khorasan is a historical region comprising a vast territory covering northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Afghanistan and parts of India.
The sanctions in particular have been imposed against Hayatullah Ghulam Muhammad (Haji Hayatullah), Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, Inayat-ur Rahman, and a purported charity managed by Inayat-ur Rahman, the Welfare and Development Organization of Jamaat-ud-Dawah for Quran and Sunnah (WDO).

United States, China reach deals on access for beef, financial services.
The United States and China will expand trade in beef and chicken and increase access for financial firms, as part of a plan to reduce the massive U.S. trade deficit with Beijing.
The deals are the first tangible results of trade talks that began last month after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida to discuss cooperation between the world’s two largest economies.
The countries have agreed that China will allow U.S. imports of beef no later than July 16. By that same deadline, the United States it would issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry to enter U.S. markets.

Brazil declares end to Zika emergency.
Brazil declared an end to public health emergency for the Zika virus after about 18 months of fight against this mosquito-borne virus.
The Zika virus emergency fell upon Brazil when the country was preparing to host the 2016 Olympics, fuelling the concerns that Rio Olympics could spread the virus.
Brazil launched a mosquito-eradication campaign which resultantly helped to dramatically reduce cases of Zika. From January till mid-April 2017, Brazil recorded 95 percent fewer cases than during the same period in 2016 when there were 170535 cases. The number of cases of microcephaly fell as well.

May 13

United States prepares to ban laptops on flights from Europe.
The United States is expected to broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from the European Union, a move that would create logistical chaos on the world's busiest corridor of air travel.
Alarmed at the proposal, European governments held urgent talks with the US Department of Homeland Security.
The ban would affect trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, many of them business travelers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.

World Health Organization declares Ebola outbreak in Congo.
World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to WHO report at least one person has died after contracting the virus in the country's north­east.
More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014­2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The last outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people. The WHO described the outbreak as a public health crisis of international importance.

India-United Kingdom agree on MoU in urban transport sector.
India and the United Kingdom agreed to sign an MoU in the urban transport sector for cooperation in policy planning, technology transfer and institutional organization.
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari was on a three-day visit, finalized the bilateral cooperation arrangement between the Transport for London (TfL) and the India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to cover a wide range of transport mobility solutions and associated activities in urban environments.
Under the proposed MoU, the TfL will share with the ministry of road transport and highways its expertise on the mobility and efficiency of transport system and methodologies to facilitate the planning and delivery of mobility solutions, including ticketing, passenger information, major project financing, infrastructure maintenance strategies and behavioral change and public transport promotion.

United States nears $100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
The United States is close to completing a series of arms deals with Saudi Arabia totaling more than $100 billion which could surpass over $300 billion over a decade.
Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition in Yemen which has been accused by United Nations of carrying out attacks that "may amount to war crimes".

May 14

Nepal, China sign framework agreement on One Belt, One Road.
Nepal and China signed a framework agreement on Beijing's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, days ahead of a summit in Beijing to showcase President Xi Jinping’s ambitious plan to build a modern day Silk Road.
Foreign secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Chinese ambassador Yu Hong signed the memorandum of understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative during a function at the foreign ministry in Kathmandu.
The MoU seeks to strengthen cooperation in connectivity sectors including transit transport, logistic systems, transport network and related infrastructures development.
Similarly, the MoU also aims to promote people-to-people exchanges of different levels between the two countries.

India to skip China's One Belt One Road summit in Beijing.
India boycotted the two-day conference on China's ''One Belt One Road'' (OBOR) initiative, which was held in Beijing.
The boycott by India is a diplomatic retaliation to China's action of blocking India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and blocking UN sanctions on Pakistan based terrorist Masood Azhar.
It is strategic developmental project proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping in year 2013. The project aims to connect China with Eurasia through land based ''Silk Road Economic Belt'' (SREB) and ocean going ''Maritime Silk Road'' (MSR).
Although it has been portrayed as a connectivity driven project, foreign policy experts consider it as China’s tacit strategy of increasing its influence in the region.

May 15

India's 'Ujala' to light up homes in United Kingdom.
India has taken a new initiative to supply cheap LED bulbs for the citizens of London in the United Kingdom. Taking this process to the final stages India will launch 'UJALA' scheme in United Kingdom.
The initiative is aimed at saving the energy of European country. UJALA is globally one of the largest efficiency programmes and being run by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, an energy services company promoted by Indian state-run power majors.
The programme has already turned India into the world's LED capital, accounting for 10-12 per cent of the global market 4 billion bulbs.

China & Pakistan sign 6 pacts to boost cooperation.
China and Pakistan signed a number of infrastructure agreements to boost cooperation on the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including for the development of the strategic Gwadar port, ahead of the two-day Belt and Road summit.
The pacts were signed in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ahead of the much-publicized Belt and Road (B&R) Forum.
The pacts deal with increasing bilateral cooperation within the framework of China's ambitious Silk Road project, upgrading the main railway track between Karachi and Peshawar - referred to as ML-1 or Main Line-1, and a MoU for the establishment of a dry port in Havelian.

May 16

Headquarters of IPHRC of OIC inaugurated in Saudi Arabia.
The headquarters of Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was inaugurated at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Adel Al-Jubeir and Secretary General of OIC Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen jointly inaugurated the headquarter.
The headquarters will help promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Muslim world through provision of objective and neutral views on many human rights issues, in accordance with international rules and in consonance with Islamic principles.
The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) is a branch of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Amnesty International launches new global campaign 'Brave'.
Amnesty International (AI) launched 'Brave' to fight against a growing wave of attacks against those defending human rights.
The new Brave campaign calls on states to recognize their dignity and equal rights of all people and to ensure their freedom and safety under the United Nations declaration adopted in 1998.
According to the report of Front Line Defenders, Last year 281 people were killed globally for defending human rights from 156 in 2015.

May 17

Austrian parliament passes burqa ban seeing Muslim women face £130 fines for wearing full-face veils.
Austria's parliament has approved a burqa ban that will see women wearing full-face veils in public fined €150 (£130) as part of new integration policies.
The prohibition will come into effect in October to outlaw Islamic burqas, niqabs and other clothing obstructing facial features in public places, universities, courts or on transport.
Opponents have argued that the ban is both discriminatory and unnecessary as a tiny number of women in Austria are thought to wear veils.

Jordan's Azraq becomes world first clean energy refugee camp.
Thousands of Syrian refugees will be able to light their homes, charge their phones and chill their food by solar power as Jordan's Azraq camp became the world's first refugee camp to be powered by renewable energy.
Each family in almost 5,000 shelters in the desert camp will be able to use electricity generated by a solar plant.
Lighting up the camp is not only a symbolic achievement; it provides a safer environment for all camp residents, opens up livelihoods opportunities, and gives children the chance to study after dark.
The Azraq camp, in northern Jordan, is home to 36,000 Syrians refugees who will all be able to rely on solar power by 2018.

May 18

Japanese Cabinet approved bill to allow Japan's first abdication of emperor in 200 years.
Paving the way for the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in nearly two centuries, Japan's Cabinet approved a bill that would allow Emperor Akihito to step down.
The approval will allow Emperor Akihito to hand over the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, 57. The government envisions December 2018 as the possible timing for his abdication, the time when the Emperor will turn 85 years old.
It also says that the abdication will also mark nearly 30 full years on the throne for the emperor.

China, ASEAN Countries Agree on Framework for South China Sea Code of Conduct.
China and the 10 member of the ASEAN grouping have agreed to a framework of a legally binding code of conduct aimed at preventing disputes in the strategic South China Sea.
Though the draft of the framework has been finalized, no detail about the text of the framework agreement has been released. Also, no date has been given on which the full code of conduct is set to be adopted by the parties.
However, all the parties have agreed to continue to constructively advance the negotiations and work towards the early conclusion of the code of conduct.

Ferry service opens between North Korea and Russia.
North Korea and Russia have started passenger ferry service aiming to develop links and boost economic cooperation despite United Nations sanctions.
The first ever ferry service linking the two countries was launched with North Korean passenger ferry docking in Russia's port city of Vladivostok for the first time. The vessel will sail once a week to the port city and will carry tourists and cargo.

May 19

India, Singapore kick off major naval exercise in South China Sea.
India and Singapore kicked off a major naval exercise "SIMBEX" in the contentious South China Sea, where China is locked in bitter territorial disputes with most of its neighbours.
India has deployed its stealth frigates, INS Shivalik and INS Sahyadri, anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta and fleet replenishment tanker INS Jyoti as well as one Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, under the overall command of Eastern Fleet commander Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, for the SIMBEX exercise.
Singapore, in turn, has fielded warships Supreme, Formidable and Victory as well as F-16 fighters and Fokker F50 maritime patrol aircraft.

Start up India Summit to be held in Dubai.
Dubai will host a two-day ''Startup India Summit'' in the United Arab Emirates with Consulate General of India (CGI) Dubai and Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Indian Software Product Industry Round Table (iSPIRIT).
This is the first ''Start-Up Summit'' being held in the UAE. The aim is to provide a shared platform for the Start-up ecosystem in both India and UAE for greater collaboration, exchange ideas, and interact with academia, investors and industry.
India is the third largest ecosystem in the world leading in tech innovation. Digi Medicine, Health care Technology, Innovative Technology and Software as Service will take part in the two day event.

May 20

Climate Change: Antarctica is Turning Green.
A new study conducted by a team of scientists from the University Of Exeter In The United Kingdom, plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change.
The scientists have observed a sharp increase in biological activity in Antarctica in the last 50 years. For ascertaining the growth, the scientists conducted tests at five cores from three sites and has observed the occurrence of major biological changes across the Antarctic Peninsula.
The scientists made use of 150 years worth of data to arrive at the conclusion. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.

Italy makes childhood vaccinations compulsory.
Italy's government declared a new law making a series of childhood vaccinations a condition of school inscription in a move triggered by a spike in measles cases.
Vaccinations covering 12 common diseases will be required to register children for state childcare and elementary school up to the age of six. Parents will be liable for fines if their children are not vaccinated.
Lorenzin pushed for change after the number of measles cases tripled, largely because of children not being vaccinated.

Commissioning a Study on Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism for Solar Power Generation Projects in Solar Resource Rich Countries under Aegis of ISA.
India and other solar rich countries including Argentina, Burkina­Faso, Chad, France, Ivory Coast, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sénégal, Uganda and Yemen have jointly supported commissioning of a study to define and structure a Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for solar power generation projects in solar rich countries.
Currently, cost of capital, accounts for major portion of the final cost of renewable energy, in particular solar PV.
As per a calculation by Council on Energy, Environment and Water, cost of capital accounts for 70 per cent of the total cost of solar power in India.

May 21

Number of migrant children travelling alone hits record high: UNICEF.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced that the number of children travelling alone has increased five times since 2010.
In addition, the agency also warned that many young refugees and migrants are taking highly dangerous routes to reach their destinations.
At least 300000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in around 80 countries in the combined years of 2015 and 2016, up from 66000 in 2010 and 2011, as per the new UNICEF report titled A Child is a Child: Protecting children on the move from violence, abuse and exploitation.
The report depicts a global picture of refugee and migrant children, the motivations behind their journeys and the risks they face along the way.

United States President calls for international isolation of Iran.
United States President Donald Trump t urged Muslim countries to deny sanctuary to extremists and called for international isolation of Iran, which he accused of fuelling "sectarian conflict and terror".
In Saudi Arabia, that from Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.
Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate it and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve.

Jaipur Literature Festival kicked off in London.
The Jaipur Literature Festival was inaugurated in London to present a sumptuous showcase of South Asia's literary heritage, oral and performing arts, books and ideas, dialogue and debate.
The British Library, the second largest library in the world by number of items catalogued, played host to the annual festival as part of the wider UK-India Year of Culture celebrations and included a wide array of authors and artists from India, the UK and beyond.
The inaugural event saw sessions on the experience of the Beatles rock band in India in the 1960s. Filmmaker Karan Johar urged Bollywood to bring the "abandon" back.

May 22

United States, six Gulf countries sign MoU to curb financing terror organizations.
The United States and six Gulf countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to curb financing terror organizations like Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Hizbollah, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
The MoU was signed by the United States and six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh.
These six Gulf Countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The MoU was signed during United States President Donald Trump's historic visit to Saudi Arabia.

First draft of nuclear ban treaty released by United Nations.
A United Nations-backed panel has publicly released a draft treaty banning the possession and use of all nuclear weapons.
The draft treaty is the culmination of a sustained campaign, supported by more than 130 non-nuclear states, to prohibit nuclear weapons and persuade nuclear-armed states to disarm.
Nine countries that are known to possess nuclear weapons are- the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel has not supported the draft plan.
The United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.

May 23

Two-day 'Start-up India Summit' begins in Abu Dhabi.
The two-day ‘Start up India Summit’ has begun in Abhu Dhabi, UAE. This Summit has been organized by the Consul General of India (CGI) in Dubai and Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi in partnership with iSPIRIT, a nonprofit think tank and supported by TiE, Dubai.
The aim of the summit is to provide a shared platform for the Start up eco system in both India and UAE.
Seventeen start - up companies from India in the space of Artificial Intelligence, Financial Technology or Fintech, Digi Medicine, Health care Technology, Innovative Technology and Software as Service will take part in the event.
Startup India campaign is based on an action plan aimed at promoting bank financing for start-up ventures to boost entrepreneurship and encourage startups with jobs creation.

Smallest nation ''Nauru'' joins solar alliance.
The world's smallest republic, the tiny island nation of Nauru has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework pact initiated by the Indian and French Governments at the climate change summit held at Paris in 2015.
Five more nations, from Africa, - Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti have committed to sign the pact during the ongoing meeting of the African Development bank in India.

May 24

Neil Armstrong's moon dust bag may fetch $4 million at auction.
An extremely rare bag used by NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect the first dust samples from the Moon is expected to fetch up to $4 million at an auction in the United States.
The bag brought back to Earth 48 years ago contains traces of the moon dust and is an exceptionally rare relic of humanity's greatest achievement.
It will be up for auction on July 20 along with a signed photograph of Armstrong's companion Buzz Aldrin on the Moon and other memorabilia.
The star lot of the sale is the most important space exploration artifact to ever come to market, the outer decontamination bag used by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 to bring back the very first samples ever collected of the Moon, traces of which remain in the bag
During the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong collected nearly 500 grammes of material finer than one centimeter (cm), as well as 12 rock fragments larger than one cm from five different locations on the lunar surface in the region known as the Sea of Tranquillity.
Hyperloop India to participate in SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition II.
SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, will organize Hyperloop Pod Competition II in August 2017 at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
The competition will see the participation of 24 teams from across the world including a team from India's BITS Pilani.
The Indian team constitutes of 25 participants from premier colleges of India. Each participant of the Hyperloop India team, mostly engineering and management students, will put their heads together to build the pod that would meet the high-speed norms of the futuristic transport system Hyperloop.

May 25

Taiwan court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, first in Asia.
Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, paving the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex unions and cementing its status as a beacon for LGBT rights.
The court in Taipei found that the island's Civil Code, which states that only a man and a woman can marry, violated constitutional guarantees. It gave the legislature two years to amend the Civil Code.
The decision is a victory for Taiwan's LGBT activists, who have fought for decades for marriage equality, inspiring similar struggles across Asia and elsewhere.
Wayne Lin, chairman of the nongovernmental Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, called the ruling a ''milestone'' for the island.

May 26

Apple Opens First Official Store in South East Asia at Singapore.
Apple has opened its first store in Southeast Asia at Singapore's upmarket shopping district. Apple expects this store to be one of the most of the most popular stores in the world.
Most of the earnings for Apple come from the sales of its flagship iPhone, which of late faces increasingly tough competition in a saturated market.
Apple already has almost 500 stores globally with more than a million visitors daily. Apart from Singapore it has shops located in Hong Kong, China and Japan in Asia.
Apple Inc. is California based technology giant that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, online services, and personal computers.

May 27

India ­ Pacific islands conference held in Fiji.
India's Ministry of External Affairs hosted the 'India­Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference' in Suva, Fiji.
The conference was inaugurated by Aiyaz Sayed­Khaiyum, the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji. It was held under the framework of the Forum for India Pacific Islands Co­operation (FIPIC). The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) was key knowledge partner.
Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. Dr. V.K. Singh hosted the conference. He also announced that India will contribute US$ 1 million to Fiji's Trust Fund for their Presidency of COP­23 to be held in November 2017.

May 28

Global forum on disaster risk reduction takes place in Mexico.
5th edition of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) took place from in Cancun, Mexico.
Around 4,000 participants and delegations from over 180 countries attended this 5th edition of the Global Platform which was held outside Geneva, Switzerland for the first time and hosted and co ­ organized with the Mexican government.
This is the first international summit on disaster since the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in 2015 in Japan. 6th edition of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest.
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest developments, knowledge and partnership building across sectors, with the goal of improving implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.

Russia passes anti-suicide bill over 'Blue Whale challenge'.
The Russian parliament's lower house has passed an anti-suicide bill to combat the Blue Whale suicide challenge, which has caused over 100 teen deaths in the country.
The bill proposes a maximum punishment of six years in jail for driving children towards suicide. However, the bill mandates that criminal cases against suspects can be stopped if they cease their activities.

May 29

40 per cent decline in US visas for Pakistan, 28 per cent increase for India.
Pakistan has had a significant 40 per cent drop in the number of American visas granted to its nationals under the new Donald Trump administration despite not being on the list of the United States President’s travel ban countries.
The number of non-immigrant United States visas to Indians increased by 28 per cent in March and April this year as compared to the monthly average of the previous year.
Pakistanis were issued 3,925 non-immigrant visas in April and 3,973 visas in March, 2017. The Obama administration last year issued a total of 78,637 non-immigrant visas to Pakistanis with a monthly average of 6,553, which was 40 per cent higher than the current average.

May 30

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 4th indo German inter-governmental consultations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chancellor of Germany are attending the 4th Indo-German consultations and addressing the business leaders at the summit at Berlin.
The two leaders will also hold ministerial level talks on various sectors at the consultations. Issues of climate change were also discussed and the two leaders observed the possibilities of including the same in the G-20 context.
The last IGC was held in New Delhi in October, 2015, when bilateral ties were significantly scaled up.

Cyclone Mora hits Bangladesh, thousands moved to safer places.
Severe Cyclone Mora hit Bangladesh packing winds of up to 117 kilometers per hour after authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from low-lying coastal villages.
The storm made landfall on the coast between Cox's Bazar and the main port city of Chittagong. 240 medical teams have been formed in Chittagong for emergency services. Leave of all doctors and health officials have been cancelled.
In the coastal districts, residents of low-lying areas are being evacuated and shifted to safer shelter. In addition to forming medical teams, members of different forces along with 50,000 volunteers have been prepared for emergency rescue and relief operations.

First women's TV channel launched in Afghanistan.
The first ever women television channel ''Zan TV (or Women’s TV)'' has started in Kabul, Afghanistan. It has been started with a staff of all female presenters and producers.
The main purpose to launch the women TV channel is to highlight the rights of Afghan women and to improve their status and ensure their equity with men in the conservative society.
It has been taken a crucial step for women's rights, in a male dominated country which is struggling for peace. Founder of Zan TV is Hamid Samar.

May 31

70th edition of World Health Assembly (WHA70) held in Geneva.
70th World Health Assembly (WHA70) was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Margaret Chan gave her last address as Director General of the WHO, with her tenure coming to an end.
Member States of WHO, elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director General of WHO.
Delegates at the World Health Assembly approved the organization's proposed programme budget of US $4421.5 million for the biennium, which includes a 3 per cent (or US $28 million) increase in Member State assessed contributions for 2018–2019.
Discussions were held on implementation of the International Health Regulations, and improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.
The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It generally meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the Organization.


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