international - 2016 October

October 1

London launches 'Shut Up' Tube Chat campaign.
London commuters have launched a 'Shut Up' Tube Chat campaign to discourage fellow passengers from interacting with them on the London underground.
It comes after travellers were handed leaflets with badges encouraging them to talk to one another on the Tube.
The Tube Chat pin is supposed to indicate to other commuters that the wearer is happy to have a conversation.
It has provoked a strong reaction, with many people making their own badges designed to discourage anyone from approaching them.
Commuters who want nothing more than to listen to their music, read a book, stare at their smartphone screen or just ignore their fellow travellers have also expressed alarm at being encouraged to talk to one another.

October 2

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong to arrive in New Delhi.
Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Delhi on a five-day visit during which he will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and other leaders on an entire gamut of issues including security, trade and investment.
Both Lee and Modi will witness the signing of a MoU on cooperation in industrial property between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and Singapore's Intellectual Property Office.
Besides that, two more MoUs will be signed on cooperation on establishment of a North East Skills Centre in Assam between the Assam Government and the Institute of Technical Education Education Services.
Cooperation in skills development between the National Skill Development Corporation and Singapore's Institute of Technical Education Services.

October 3

World's largest balloon festival begins in US.
The largest balloon festival in the world, the 45th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico, United States.
Hot Air balloons of all shapes and sizes, including numerous character-themed balloons, took off into the air during the festival. The theme for the nine-day festival is 'Desert Kaleidoscope'.
Albuquerque hot air balloon ride company pilots offer balloon rides all year long, providing an unparalleled chance to enjoy a bird's eye view of magnificent New Mexico terrain.
Albuquerque's fabulous weather offers the perfect opportunity to take to the skies, either with an Albuquerque hot air balloon ride or from the gondola of the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway-the world’s longest

First-ever Libya Comic Convention held in Tripoli.
The first-ever comic, manga, costume play, gaming and digital art convention, Comic Con Libya, (#ComicCon_Libya) was held over three days in Tripoli.
The event was held at the Tripoli International Fairgrounds (TIF) in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Thousands attended the very successful event with organizers reporting that at the end of the second day 7,000 tickets had been sold. They estimate that as many as 20,000 could turn up over the three days.
The event was seen as an effort to highlight and encourage various artistic skills associated with makeup, cosplay, cartoon, and digital art.

October 4

Beijing Issues Yellow Air Pollution Alert.
Beijing city issued its first yellow alert for air pollution with Met department forecasting that smog will continue to engulf the Chinese capital.
The alert puts restrictions on work at construction sites, outdoor barbecues and straw burning by farmers.
The reading of Air Quality Index (AQI) in Beijing was between 200 and 300 meaning heavy pollution.
The National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert for smog that will be dispersed by a cold snap.
Wang Zifa, a researcher with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, expects north China to face more bouts of smog in autumn and winter.

October 5

India – Singapore Finance Dialogue.
India and Singapore decided to set up a Finance Dialogue, to be co-chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore, to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties.
The two sides discussed furthering Singapore and India’s strong economic ties, for instance, by setting up a Finance Dialogue between the finance ministries of the two countries.
Singapore is the second largest source of foreign direct investment in India. The total FDI from Singapore to India has totalled USD 45.88 billion or 16 per cent of the inflows during the period.
The bilateral ties were upgraded to the level of a Strategic Partnership with Singapore. More than 8,000 Indian companies are present in Singapore.

Myanmar scraps stringent emergency law.
Myanmar has scrapped a stringent law which had been used by the former military leaders to silence opponents.
The Emergency Provisions Act was introduced in 1950 after independence from Britain.
It allowed the authorities to detain people without charge and prescribed jail or execution for a wide range of offences considered treason.
It allowed punishments of up to seven years for crimes like disrupting public morality or spreading false news.
The National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept to power in Myanmar ending decades of military rule, had been trying to get rid of the law.
But the move faced opposition from some of the military, which still holds a mandatory 25% of seats in parliament and who argued the law was still necessary for national security.

France becomes first country to ban plastic cups and plates.
France has become the first country in the world to ban disposable plastic cups and plates.
The country has passed a law in 2016 that will go into effect in 2020. The law will require all disposable tableware to be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials that can be composted at home. That number will rise to 60% by 2025.
The measure is an addition to France's Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, a wide-reaching law adopted in 2015 with the aim of mitigating the impact of climate change.
France imposed a total ban on the distribution of lightweight plastic bags at supermarket checkouts.
As per the French Association of Health and Environment, ASEF One hundred and fifty single-use cups are thrown away every second in France, which counts to 4.73 billion per year.
Only 1 per cent of the cups is recycled, largely because they are made of a mixture of polypropylene and polystyrene.

October 6

India – Switzerland Signs 3 Agreements.
India and Switzerland signed 3 agreements including mutual visa exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic passports, technical arrangements on identification and return of illegal migrants and arrangement for dependent person of diplomatic, consular, technical and administrative staff of diplomatic and consular mission to perform gainful employment.
The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh met the visiting Minister for Justice and Police of Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga.
The Union Home Minister also sought a more liberal visa regime for Indian business people since India has been offering multi-year multiple entry visas to Swiss businesses in a bid to enhance bilateral trade and investment.
During the meeting, other subjects of interest to the 2 countries were also discussed including cooperation in transfer of sentenced persons and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal matters that would help in combating terrorism, transnational organized crimes and corruption including money laundering.

October 7

Pakistan passes long-awaited anti-honour killing and anti-rape legislations.
Pakistan Parliament in a joint sitting unanimously passed two bills, one seeking to curb murders in the name of honour and the other to punish rapists by use of modern technology of DNA testing in probes involving rape cases.
The two bills are titled as, Criminal law amendment (offences in the name or on the pretext of honour) bill, 2016 and Anti-rape (criminal laws amendment) bill, 2016.
About Anti-Honour Killing Bill
The anti-honour killing bill states, relatives of the victim will be able to pardon the killer if he/she is awarded capital punishment; however, the culprit will have to face mandatory life sentence (25 years).
About Anti Rape Bill
The legislation passed makes DNA test mandatory in investigations as part of the procedure. Through another amendment enhanced punishment has been provided for rape in police stations and rape of minors and mentally handicapped. Thus sex workers also get protection of the law against rape.
According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, nearly 1100 women were killed by relatives in Pakistan in 2015, while many more cases go unreported.

October 8

India-Pakistan border to be sealed completely by 2018.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India-Pakistan border will be completely sealed by 2018.
Announcement in this regard was made after Union Home Minister held meeting of representatives of 4 states sharing border with Pakistan in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
Central government has formulated time-bound action plan to completely seal the entire stretch of 3,323-km-long border between the two countries.
The process of sealing border will be monitored at Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) level, Border Security Force (BSF) level and chief secretary of state’s level.
Besides, a new concept of Border Security Grid (BSG) has been envisaged, in which all the stake holders related to border security are involved. Based on their suggestions, a final shape to BSG will be given.

October 9

US lifts economic sanctions on Myanmar.
The U.S lifted sanctions against Myanmar that have been in place for nearly two decades.
The move came after President Barack Obama’s announcement that the US was ready to lift sanctions on the Asian country during Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Washington.
Lifting economic and financial sanctions will support trade and economic growth in Myanmar.
Treasury will continue to work with Burma to implement a robust anti-money laundering regime that will help to ensure the security of its financial system.
The step eased restrictions on Myanmar’s financial institutions, allowed certain transactions related to US individuals living in the country, and removed seven state-owned enterprises and three state-owned banks from the US blacklist.

October 10

Colombian President will donate Nobel prize money to conflict victims.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that he would donate his $925,000 in Nobel Peace Prize money to victims of the conflict that has roiled his country for half a century.
He was awarded the prize for reaching a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group
The deal was rejected a few days later by Colombian voters in a referendum.
About 260,000 people have been killed and more than six million internally displaced in Colombia.
Under the peace deal, the FARC was to relaunch as a political party. But rightwing hardliners led a campaign against the accord, arguing it offered the rebels impunity for massacres, kidnappings and other crimes committed during the conflict.

Coordinated Patrol and India-Indonesia Bilateral Maritime Exercise Commenced at Belawan, Indonesia.
India and Indonesia commenced their second coordinated patrol (CORPAT) and bilateral maritime exercise in the Andaman Sea.
The 17-day-long bilateral exercise will demonstrate India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to maritime security in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The bilateral maritime exercise and CORPAT will see participation by one warship and one maritime patrol aircraft from navies of both countries.
India will be represented by INS Karmuk, an indigenously built missile corvette, based under Andaman and Nicobar Command alongwith a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
These naval interactions will provide opportunities for both countries for extensive operational and training engagements. Besides, it will also contribute substantively to the maintenance of good order at sea.

October 11

India to supply 500 MW power to Sri Lanka via sub-sea cables.
India is planning to supply 500 MW power to Sri Lanka through a network of sub-sea underground cables.
According to Union Power Secretary PK Pujari India currently supplies power to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar and imports power from Bhutan. India had thought of supplying power to Sri Lanka earlier as well, however, due to lack of technology then, it was not viable.
At that time, the technology wasn’t very good and it was costly. Now, the technology has improved drastically. European countries use it extensively to import renewable energy.
According to New York Times, the cost of putting a cable under water can be lower than burying cables on land.

Russia & Turkey agreed to intensify military, intelligence contacts.
The Russia and Turkey have agreed to intensify military and intelligence contacts. They also have agreed on the need for aid to get to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
Decision in this regard was taken after meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin on sidelines of World Energy Congress in Istanbul.
The two countries also have signed a deal to construct two TurkStream gas pipelines to send Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey.
Turkey will use one pipeline for its domestic consumption and the other will supply southeastern Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
This was the first time Russian President Putin visited Turkey after their relations were strained after Turkey, a NATO member had downed a Russian war plane in 2015 alongside the Syrian border.
Since then relations between both countries had ebbed after Russia had imposed economic sanctions against Turkey.

October 12

Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India for four-day tour.
Myanmar’s State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi left for an official visit to India.
Suu Kyi will first attend the BIMSTEC-Retreat and BRICS-BIMSTEC Leaders’ Outreach Summit scheduled to be held in Goa.
BIMSTEC, known as Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, groups Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. BRICS comprises five major emerging national economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Suu Kyi’s first trip to India since her National League for Democracy (NLD) government took office came less than two months after Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw’s state visit
According to Myanmar official figures, India’s investment in Myanmar amounted to $732.64 million, the ninth in Myanmar’s foreign investor’s line-up since late 1988 when the country opened to such investment. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached $1.711 billion in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

October 13

2,400-year-old burial chamber discovered in Turkey.
A 2,400-year-old burial chamber was recently discovered by archaeologists in Milas district, Turkey.
Over 100 artefacts dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman eras have been found within the chamber.
Milas Archaeology Museum officials found 103 artifacts in the burial chamber, untouched and unlooted for millennia, which is thought to have belonged to a wealthy local family.
The burial chamber was unearthed close to the holy road between the city of Mylasa, which was the capital of the Karia region in the ancient era, and the Labraunda religious center.

October 14

Israel Suspends UNESCO Cooperation Over Jerusalem Draft.
Israel suspended cooperation with the UNESCO, a day after the U.N. cultural agency adopted a draft resolution on the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
As per the document posted on UNESCO’s website, the holy sites will be referred to by their Arabic name, Haram esh-Sharif, while the Hebrew terms will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.
According to Israel’s Officials, UNESCO ignores thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and of aiding Islamic terrorism.
Israelis and many Jews around the world viewed it as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.
The spat is the latest in Israel's rocky relations with UNESCO, which it accuses of making decisions out of political considerations.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, with sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians claim the territory as part of their future state, and its fate is one of the most contentious issues in the decades-old conflict.

October 15

China to sign loans worth 1.6 lakh cr to Bangladesh.
China is set to sign off on loans worth over $24 billion to Bangladesh during President Xi Jinping's visit, Dhaka's biggest foreign credit line to date that will help it build power plants, a seaport and railways.
Xi‘s trip, the first by a Chinese president in 30 years, is aimed at boosting China‘s involvement in infrastructure projects at a time when India is pushing investments of its own in Bangladesh, a country New Delhi considers its area of influence.
Japan, helped by India, has also got involved in Bangladesh, offering finance at low interest rates to build a port and power complex, sharpening competition for influence in the country of 160 million people located on the Bay of Bengal.
China plans to finance around 25 projects, including a 1,320 megawatt (MW) power plant, and is also keen to build a deep sea port.
Bangladesh has backed Xi‘s ''One Belt, One Road'' initiative to boost trade and transport links across Asia and into Europe, seeing it as an opportunity to lift growth.

October 16

India, Russia to explore building $25 billion gas pipeline.
India and Russia have agreed to explore building the world’s most expensive pipeline costing close to $25 billion to ferry natural gas from Siberia to the world’s third biggest energy consuming nation.
The pipeline is to connect Russian gas grid to India through a 4,500 km to 6,000 km pipeline.
The shortest route will entail bringing the pipeline through Himalayas into Northern India, a route which poses several technical challenges.
Alternately, the pipeline can come via Central Asian nations, Iran and Pakistan into Western India.
The third and the longest alternative is to lay a pipeline through China and Myanmar into North East India bypassing Bangladesh.
According to preliminary cost estimate prepared by state-owned Engineers India Ltd, signed an agreement with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom for studying the Russia-India pipeline, the longest route of 6,000 km may cost close to $25 billion.

Brazil Opens 1st Elephant Refuge.
The first elephant sanctuary in Latin America has opened in Brazil to provide a home for an estimated 50 circus animals from across the region.
Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, in the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, was founded by the US-based non-profit organization Global Sanctuary for Elephants, and it already has its first two residents.
Maia and Guida, two elephants that spent the past four decades in captivity, arrived at the sanctuary.
Maia and Guida spent the past 40 years with a circus in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. For the past half-decade they were attached to 15-foot chains on a farm owned by the lawyer for the circus.

October 17

Typhoon Sarika Batters the Philippines.
Typhoon Sarika battered wide areas of the country’s main island of Luzon, killed at least two people and isolated hundreds of villages due to floods, cutting off communication lines, felling down trees and electric posts as well as inflicting heavy damage on farms was reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The typhoon, known locally as Karen, left more than 246,000 without power and telephone service. It is the twenty first named storms and the tenth typhoon of the annual Pacific typhoon season of 2016.
The typhoon is creeping along at only 13 kilometres per hour and is still strengthening. By the time it makes landfall in the Aurora province, the sustained winds are forecast to be 185km/h.
The storm surge could be as much as seven metres above normal tide levels, which would cause a major coastal inundation.
The storm will then set its sights on Hainan and Vietnam, where it is forecast to hit in three or four days’ time.

'World's smallest museum' opens up in UK.
An old phone booth in West Yorkshire, England made its grand (re)debut as the World’s Smallest Museum.
The Warley Community Association (WCA) decided to revamp one of their town’s old phone booths into a functional museum for the opportunity to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Warley Village Museum has room for only one visitor at a time and will change exhibitions every three months.
The current show houses artifacts from the village’s history, including photographs, etched glass and small personal items.
It is the only British Telecommunications (BT) telephone box to be remade into a museum in all of the UK. Other towns have turned the obsolete phone boxes into lending libraries or storage space for emergency defibrillators.

October 18

BRICS to set up credit rating agency.
The five-nation group of emerging economies BRICS has agreed to set up an independent BRICS Rating Agency in its efforts to challenge western hegemony in the world of finance.
It was announced during the 8th BRICS summit held in Goa, India. BRICS comprises five emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The BRICS Rating Agency will be based on market-oriented principles to strengthen the global governance architecture.
It will be launched as per the shared vision of the BRICS nations for institution-building to transform global financial architecture based on the principles of fairness and equity.
It will assist BRICS and other countries to rate infrastructure and sustainable projects in the emerging economies. Thus, it will further bridge the gap in global financial architecture

October 19

Burundi first nation to quit war crimes court.
Burundi is set to become the first nation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in a move that underlines the depth of the crisis in the country and comes amid widespread antipathy in Africa towards the court.
President Pierre Nkurunziza, who critics accuse of human rights abuses, signed a decree that paves the way for his east African nation’s departure from the court.
His decision comes at time when the ICC is conducting a preliminary investigation into politically motivated violence in Burundi in which several hundred people died.
The violence was triggered by Mr. Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office in apparent contravention of accords signed in 2005 that ended a 12-year civil war.
Many African leaders accuse the ICC of being biased towards the continent, and Burundi’s decision to pull out of the court could prompt other countries to follow suit.
Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe are among nations at the vanguard of the campaign for all African Union members to leave the ICC.

October 20

Typhoon Haima Hits Philippines.
Typhoon Haima slammed into the Philippine Island of Luzon winds estimated at 140 mph.
It hit Penablanca town in Cagayan province, the Associated Press reported, bringing intense rain. Many villages lost power and strong winds tore tin roofs off houses.
Haima was the second typhoon to hit Philippines in less than a week, lashing the country with torrential rain and raging winds.
It made landfall on the north-eastern end of the archipelago. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center downgraded it from a super typhoon before it hit land.
Winds of 220 kilometers per hour (137 mph) prior to arrival put it on par with a Category 4 hurricane It's expected to affect as many as 2.7 million people in seven provinces before veering northwest toward the Chinese coast.

October 21

India signs pact with Russia to lease second nuclear submarine.
India has signed agreement with Russia to lease second Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN). The deal is believed to be worth about $2 billion.
The lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa on the sidelines of 8th BRICS Summit. The second nuclear submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21.
India had earlier leased first Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) for a period of 10 years from Russia.
It was inducted into service as INS Chakra (formerly known as K-152 Nerpa) in 2012. Its lease expires in 2021.
Since then, India had expressed interest in leasing at least one more submarine to train Navy crew in complex submarine operations to have a large fleet of nuclear submarines.

South Africa begins process to withdraw from ICC.
South Africa has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court following a dispute over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by the tribunal for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
A UN spokesperson declined to confirm receipt of the document, which is signed by Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
The International Criminal Court, which opened in 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Burundi appeared set to become the first state to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the global court, after its parliament voted to leave. President Pierre Nkurunziza signed a decree, but the United Nations has not yet been officially notified.
South Africa planned to leave the International Criminal Court after its government faced criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes.

October 22

Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar visits Sri Lanka.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar arrived in Sri Lanka to hold bilateral discussions with the island nation’s leadership.
According to the report, during the course of his visit, Mr. Jaishankar is expected to pave the way for the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission (ISLJC) meeting scheduled to be held in Colombo.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to attend the ISJLC meeting.
The discussions will pursue various initiatives and ideas that were discussed during the recent visits to India by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
It includes the issue of fishermen, for which ministerial -level meeting is scheduled in New Delhi. Both countries are also currently discussing Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) in a bid to expand trade in services and investment sector.

October 23

Air India makes world record for longest nonstop flight.
Air India’s flight AI173 set the record for the longest non-stop flight when it flew from Delhi to San Francisco (SFO) over the Pacific Ocean instead of the Atlantic.
The flight covered the distance of 15,300 kilometres in 14.5 hours - two hours less than usual. The flight flew eastward as opposed to westward which increased the speed due to the tailwinds instead of strong headwinds.
Prior to this, the record for the world’s longest non-stop flight was held by Emirates, which covered the Dubai-Auckland route, 14,200 km in length, in 16-and-a-half hours.

October 24

New Zealand PM John Key on four day visit to India.
Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key will arrive in Mumbai on a four day visit to India.
Mr. Key will be accompanied by a high level business and education delegation. He will deliver a key note address at an event organised by Bombay Stock Exchange.
Mr. Key will also attend an innovation showcase event to celebrate innovation in New Zealand-India business partnerships.
In Delhi, the visiting dignitary will hold meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss growing bilateral relations. He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee during his stay in Delhi. He will also attend a Business Summit.
On the last day of visit, Prime Minister Key will leave for Kochi where he will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand Company, Glidepath.

October 25

Rajnath Singh to visit Bahrain for 3 days.
India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be on a three-day visit to Bahrain. He will have bilateral meeting with the Interior Minister of Bahrain and also interact with prominent members of Indian community.
The Indian delegation will include senior officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs.
During the visit, Rajnath Singh will meet His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, HRH Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Interior Minister Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and discuss with them various bilateral issues
During these talks, there will be extensive discussions on how to enhance bilateral cooperation with regard to tackling terror and each other's fugitives at the meeting between Rajnath Singh and Sheikh Rashid.

IAF chief Arup Raha on six-day visit to Russia.
Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha began his six-day visit to Russia during which he will meet top military officials as the two countries eye key projects like the one for joint development of fifth generation fighter aircraft and upgrade of Su30-MKI planes, besides other programmes.
The visit comes just days after India and Russia announced deals worth over USD 12 billion, including the S400 Triumf air defence systems which will be operated by the IAF.
The areas of cooperation presently include military and technical cooperation, exchange visits and air exercises.
During his visit to Russia, Raha is scheduled to hold talks with senior military leaders and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on the ongoing defence cooperation.

October 26

Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise Mitra Shakti 2016 begins.
The fourth edition of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise 'MITRA SHAKTI 2016' began at Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka.
The main focus of this edition of joint exercise is to enhance inter-operability while carrying out Counter Terrorism (CT) and Counter Insurgency (CI) operations under the UN Mandate.
Under this mandate the comprehensive training programme spanning fourteen days has been drawn up.
In this edition of exercise, India is being represented by a platoon from the RAJPUTANA RIFLES Regiment and Sri Lankan Army is represented by a platoon from the Sinha Regiment.
The bilateral military exercise will be conducted in two stages in which both armies will get familiar each other’s respective methodology of such operations, arms and equipment and the command and control systems.
It will also graduate towards tactical understanding to enhance inter-operability while carrying out Counter Terrorism (CT)/ Counter Insurgency (CI) operations.

October 27

India to provide LED bulbs, equipment to Vanuatu as a grant.
India will provide LED bulbs and other energy efficient equipment worth USD 2, 00,000 (around Rs. 1.34 crore) to Pacific island nation Vanuatu as a grant.
Power Minister piyush Goyal is on a two-day visit to Vanuatu and leading a thirteen-member Indian delegation.
During the visit he held talks with Prime Minister of Vanuatu Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas and Foreign Affairs Minister of the country Bruno Leingkone Tau. Goyal discussed India-Vanuatu bilateral relations with them.
Goyal also handed over a cheque of USD 1,90,000 (around Rs. 1.27 crore) to Bruno Leingkone Tau as an assistance for providing ICT (informational and communications technology) equipment to 76 schools of Vanuatu.
This assistance is under India's annual grant to Vanuatu, which will help it reduce the energy consumption and save millions of dollars of electricity consumption.
Vanuatu is in favour of expansion of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and supports India's position for its candidature to permanent membership to the extended UNSC.

October 28

World's largest marine park created in Antarctica.
Twenty-four countries and the European Union agreed to create the world's largest marine park in the Antarctic Ocean, covering a massive 1.55 million square km (600,000 square miles) of ocean.
According to The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, meeting in Hobart, Australia, the Ross Sea marine park would be protected from commercial fishing for 35 years.
The Ross Sea is seen as one of the world's most ecologically important oceans.
The sanctuary will cover more than 12 per cent of the Southern Ocean, which is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world's penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and Antarctic tooth fish.
Fishing will be banned completely in 1.1 million square km (425,000 square miles) of the Ross Sea, while areas designated as research zones will allow for some fishing for krill and sawfish.
Russia agreed to the proposal, after blocking conservation proposals on five previous occasions. The 25-member commission, which includes Russia, China, the United States and the European Union, requires unanimous support for decisions.

October 29

Govt notifies revised DTAA with South Korea.
The government notified a new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and South Korea, which was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Seoul in 2015.
The provisions of the new DTAA will have effect in India in respect of income derived in fiscal years beginning on April 1, 2017.
The earlier Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between India and South Korea was notified on 1986.
The revised DTAA also provides for exclusive residence based taxation of shipping income from international traffic.
The revised DTAA allows both countries to apply for Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APA).
The MoU provides for the suspension of collection of outstanding taxes during the pendency of MAP proceedings for a period of two years subject to providing on demand security or bank guarantee.
The revised DTAA aims to avoid the burden of double taxation for taxpayers of two countries in order to promote and thereby stimulate flow of investment, technology and services between India and Korea.

October 30

Spain's Parliament votes conservative PM Mariano Rajoy back into power.
Spain's parliament voted conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy back into power, ending a rollercoaster, 10 month political crisis despite bitter opposition and lingering divisions.
One hundred and seventy lawmakers voted for Rajoy, 111 against, and 68 abstained - all Socialist MPs, in line with the party's reluctant decision to let its arch-rival govern rather than trigger a third round of elections in the poll-weary country.
Rajoy pledged to plough on with economic policies deeply unpopular with the opposition which blames austerity measures taken in his first term for rising inequality.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near parliament amid a heavy police presence, unhappy about corruption and sweeping spending cuts during Rajoy's first term, shouting: "They don't represent us''.

October 31

EU, Canada sign landmark CETA deal.
The European Union and Canada have signed a long-delayed landmark trade deal, following weeks of uncertainty due to opposition in Belgium.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the pact ''the most comprehensive, ambitious and progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by either Canada or the European Union''.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, which was concluded after seven years of negotiations, is the first such agreement the European bloc has negotiated with another major industrialized economy.
The deal removes 99% of tariffs - and officials hope it will generate an increase in trade worth $12 billion (€10.9 billion; £9.8 billion) a year.


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