international - 2018 SEPTEMBER

September 1

Germany’s new ‘left’, and its contradictions.
Recently, a new left-wing movement emerged in Germany. Led by Sahra Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the left-wing party Die Linke, Aufstehen (‘Stand up’) wants to scrape together different people from the left of the political centre. Its appeal could also extend to members of parties such as the Social Democrats and the Greens.
Another dominating figure of the movement is Oskar Lafontaine, leading Die Linke politician and Ms. Wagenknecht’s husband. When Aufstehen started its website in August, it claimed that it had the support of tens of thousands of people.
The movement, aims to launch officially in September. Several figures from German politics and culture support Ms. Wagenknecht’s plan and believe that a “left-wing alternative” to Germany’s current political mainstream is necessary.

U.S. move to end aid is cruel, irresponsible: Palestinians.
Palestinians reacted angrily to a U.S. decision to end all funding for the UN agency that assists millions of refugees, seeing it as a new policy shift aimed at undermining their cause.
Washington, which until last year was by far the biggest contributor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), announced that would no longer make any contributions to the “irredeemably flawed operation”.
The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).

September 2

Swaraj embarks on 4-day visit to Vietnam, Cambodia.
External Affairs Minister (EAM), Sushma Swaraj departed for a four-day visit to Vietnam and Cambodia.
In Vietnam, Swaraj is scheduled to co-chair the 16th meeting of the Joint Commission along with her Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh. She will also call upon Vietnam's Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The EAM will inaugurate the third edition of the Indian Ocean Conference.
The EAM head to Cambodia, where she will hold bilateral meetings with the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister, Prak Sokhonn. Swaraj also meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of Senate Say Chhum.
The visit of EAM to Vietnam and Cambodia will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues and advance our strategic engagement with these countries and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.

Suresh Prabhu attends the 6th RCEP Trade Ministers' Meeting in Singapore.
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu is leading the Indian delegation for the 6th RCEP Trade Ministers' Meeting held in Singapore.
The Minister will participate in the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) Ministerial Meeting consisting of 10 ASEAN countries and six ASEAN FTA partners namely, India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. Prabhu will take part in the 6th East-Asia Economic Ministers' Meeting (EAS-EMM), attended by Trade and Economic Ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and 8 Dialogue Partners of ASEAN including India, China, US, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

September 3

Xi Jinping offers $60 billion Africa aid.
China has pledged a $60 billion fund to bolster industry, counter hunger, and enhance security in Africa, a continent that has been chronically plagued by piracy and terrorism.
In his inaugural address at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), President Xi Jinping was authoritative in messaging that Beijing had become the locomotive of Africa’s all-round progress.
China's President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the 6th Forum of China-Africa Cooperation at the Beijing National Convention Centre in Beijing, China.
Chinese officials had cited a 2017 study by McKinsey, a U.S. consulting firm, which had spotlighted that China has become Africa’s most important and unrivalled economic partner.

UN, EU call for reporters’ release in Myanmar.
New UN rights Chief Michelle Bachelet was “shocked” by Myanmar’s jailing of two Reuters journalists for seven years and called for their immediate release. “The trial was a travesty of justice.
Also, the European Union (EU)’s foreign policy service the sentences “should be reviewed and the two journalists be released immediately and unconditionally”.
A spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is extremely disappointed with this verdict and sentencing and call for the journalists to be released immediately.

September 4

Aurora Prize laureate Aung to donate $1 million award money to help Rohingya refugees.
Aurora Prize Laureate Kyaw Hla Aung, a noted lawyer and activist from Myanmar, announced he would donate his US dollar one million award money towards humanitarian relief work among Rohingya refugees.
He was given the award this year for his fight against injustice and advocating on behalf of the Rohingya people.
The money will be distributed among three international organisations Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and MERCY Malaysia providing medical aid and assistance to Rohingya refugees across South East Asia, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI) has announced.
MSF, UK, will receive USD 400,000, while MERCY Malaysia and the ICMC USD 300,000 each. This initiative will benefit around 3,75,000 Rohingya refugees.

Top Chinese official to attend N. Korea event.
China’s Parliament chief will visit North Korea this weekend as President Xi Jinping’s special representative for celebrations marking 70 years since the founding of the country.
North Korea, locked in a stand-off with the U.S. over its nuclear programmes, is preparing to host a number of major events for the September 9 anniversary, including a military parade, possible visits by foreign delegations, and - for the first time in five years - a massive choreographed performance known as the “Mass Games”.
Xinhua gave few details about the visit of Parliament chief Li Zhanshu, who is the third most senior member of China’s ruling Communist Party.
North’s KCNA news agency, Mr. Li would visit “from September 8”, without saying how long he would stay.

September 5

India buying Russian missile system not primary focus of 2+2 talks: Pompeo.
India buying a missile defence system from Russia and oil from Iran would be part of the 2+2 dialogue, but not the talks’ primary focus.
Mr. Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis are headed to India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This is the inaugural 2+2 dialogue between the two countries.
India is expected to convey to the U.S. during the dialogue that it is going ahead with the Rs. 40,000 crore deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 Triumf air defence missile system.
They are really about things that are big and strategic and will go on for 20, 40, 50 years. Those are the kinds of topics that secretary Mattis but they are not part of the structural relationship between the two countries.

1.4 billion risk disease from lack of exercise: WHO.
More than 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise, doctors are warning, with global activity levels virtually unchanged in nearly two decades.
With richer nations enjoying an increasingly comfortable, sedentary lifestyle, a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a third of women and a quarter of men worldwide are in the firing line for killer conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer unless they up their physical activity.
The WHO recommends each adult do at least 150 minutes “moderate-intensity” exercise - such as brisk walking, swimming or gentle cycling - each week, or 75 minutes “vigorous-intensity” activity - such as running or team sports.
The study tracked activity levels of 1.9 million people in 168 countries across the world during 2016.

Russia warns Google against election ‘meddling’.
Russia has officially warned U.S. internet giant Google against “meddling” in local elections by hosting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s videos calling for mass protests.
Representatives of Russia’s electoral commission, the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the state internet watchdog at a meeting alleged Navalny uses Google’s services to disseminate illegal information and warned that the company may be prosecuted if it does not act to stop this.
Central Election Commission member Alexander Klyukin commission had sent an official letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, regarding Navalny’s use of YouTube.
The fierce Kremlin critic has urged Russians to protest, when several Russian regions and Moscow elect regional and local officials. Navalny is currently serving a 30-day sentence for violating public order laws during a protest earlier this year.

September 6

India ranks 19 in ‘Theft Ranking’ for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials.
India has improved its ranking by one spot from 2016 and now stands 19th in the ‘Theft Ranking’ for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials. The index was released by the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), which is co-chaired by Sam Nunn and Ernest Moni.
The biennial NTI index finds that despite these growing risks, progress to secure, minimise and eliminate the world’s deadliest materials as well as to ensure the security of nuclear facilities has accelerated since 2016.
India’s nuclear security conditions could be improved by strengthening on-site physical protection, control and accounting, insider threat prevention, security during transport and cybersecurity by hosting an international security review and by establishing an independent regulatory agency.
Neighboring Pakistan ranks 20th in the Theft Ranking for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials.

Tata to build wings for Lockheed Matrtin's F-16 aircraft wings in Hyderabad.
Lockheed Martin Corp announced that the wings of F-16 will be produced at Hyderabad by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
This strategic initiative positions TASL to become the provider of wings for all future customers and strengthens their role in the F-16 global supply chain. TASL is Lockheed Martin's strategic industry partner in India.
The planned F-16 wing production move to India is not contingent on the Government of India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force. Both Lockheed Martin and Tata Group company in June last year signed a letter of intent for a collaboration to produce the F-16 Block 70 in India if the aircraft is selected by the Indian Air Force.
TASL already has multiple collaborations with global aerospace companies such as Sikorsky, Boeing and Rolls Royce besides Lockheed Martin through various joint venture manufacturing facilities in the city involving the production of aircraft components.

September 7

U.S. lawmakers urge new Pakistan govt to treat minorities with equality.
Several U.S. lawmakers have urged the new government of Pakistan to treat its ethnic and religious minorities with equality and dignity.
Addressing ‘The Minorities Day on the Hill’ organised by South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation (SAMAF) and Voice of Karachi (VOK), the lawmakers urged the Imran Khan government to stop human rights violation of minorities in Karachi as well as other parts of the country, including Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
In his speech as the host of the event, US Congressman Thomas Garrett Jr appealed to all countries in the world to treat their minorities with respect and dignity they deserve and grant them equal rights.
Mohajirs (Muslims who migrated to Pakistan from India during the partition in 1947) had left their homes hoping for a better life but they were not welcomed in their new homeland.

Mass graves with at least 166 bodies found in eastern Mexico.
The bodies of at least 166 people have been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, the latest in a string of grim discoveries made in the eastern region in recent years.
State attorney general Jorge Winckler a news conference investigators discovered the bodies in 32 graves in the central part of the state after an Aug. 8 tip from an unidentified person that they had been dumped.
After 30 days of work, the human remains of at least 166 people have been found, that is the minimum number of individuals identified on the basis of skulls that have been discovered in 32 different parts of the search area.
Veracruz has long been racked by violent crime and is an important trafficking route for drug gangs moving narcotics north towards the U.S. border.

U.S. Defence Secretary makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan.
U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and the top U.S. general arrived in Kabul to meet the new commander of NATO troops in the country and discuss progress on peace talks with the Taliban, despite a deteriorating security situation and turmoil within the Afghan government.
Mr. Mattis arrived in Afghanistan accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford.

September 8

U.S. military drawing up options should Syria use chemical weapons.
America's top general involved in “routine dialogue” with President Donald Trump about military options should Syria ignore Washington's warnings against using chemical weapons in an expected assault on the enclave of Idlib.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no decision had been made by the United States to employ military force in response to a chemical attack in Syria.
The president to make sure he knows where is with regard to planning in the event that chemical weapons are used.
Gen. Dunford, speaking to a small group of reporters during a trip to India, He expects to have military options and provided updates to him on the development of those military options.

Trump poised to tax an additional $200billion in Chinese imports.
The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25% on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, escalating a confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies and likely squeezing U.S. companies that import everything from handbags to bicycle tires.
The administration could decide to begin taxing the imports equal to nearly 40% of all the goods China sold the United States last year after a public comment period ends.
The administration has already imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products, and Beijing has punched back with tariffs on $50 billion in American goods.
These U.S. goods include soybeans and beef a direct shot at supporters of President Donald Trump in the U.S. farm belt. China plans to tax an additional $60 billion in U.S. products if the Trump administration expands its hit list by $200 billion.

September 9

Ram Nath Kovind's signed Pacts on energy, defence, trade during his 3 nation visit.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as successful, the agreements were signed in the fields of energy, defence, and trade, among others.
President Kovind’s visit to the three countries was very successful. After the visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, relations with these countries have become stronger with India.
During the visit, there have been various discussions on mutual matters and agreements reached related to energy, environment, tourism, trade and investment, financial services and defence production.
The President and his wife Savita Kovind visited the Strahov Monastery in Prague, a library which has over 3,000 manuscripts and 200 thousand volumes of old books.

UN human rights chief asks Egypt to overturn death sentences.
UN human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet urged Egypt’s appeals court to overturn mass death sentences handed down by a lower court after what she said was an “unfair trial”.
An Egyptian court delivered death sentences to 75 people, including prominent Islamist leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi, over a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters.
Defendants were denied the right to individual lawyers and to present evidence, while “the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove individual guilt”.
The sentencing, which included jail terms for more than 600 others, concluded a mass trial of people accused of murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.

From Japan to the world, via India.
For Japan’s Fujitsu, the engineers working at its Indian offices are more than just delivery resources.
The multinational information technology and services company has chosen its global delivery centre in Pune to serve as a hub to impart Japanese language proficiency to its Indian engineers, with a view to using them to unlock the 83-year-old company’s vast intellectual property database - almost all of it in Japanese - for global deployment.
Objective is to unlock the knowledge acquired in Japanese language for Japanese people and to take it to the world.

September 10

Aston Martin adds FTSE experience to its board ahead of IPO.
Aston Martin has lined up experienced FTSE executives to boost its board as the 105-year-old luxury carmaker presses ahead with plans to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Richard Solomons, who was chief executive of InterContinental Hotels from 2011 to 2017, will become a senior independent director and chair of the board's audit and risk committee. The independent directors will bring significant experience to the Board as we prepare to float and deliver fully on our business plan commitments.
The news came as China's Geely delayed the planned listing of its Volvo Cars business, citing valuation concerns amid a global trade war.

Volkswagen investors seek $11 billion damages over dieselgate scandal.
Volkswagen went to face investors seeking 9.2 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in compensation, arguing the carmaker should have informed shareholders earlier about its diesel emissions scandal.
Shareholders representing 1,670 claims are seeking compensation for a slide in Volkswagen's (VW) share price triggered by the scandal, which broke in September 2015 and has cost the firm 27.4 billion euros in penalties and fines so far.
The plaintiffs say VW failed in its duty to inform investors about the financial impact of the scandal, which became public only after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “notice of violation” on September 18, 2015.
Vestors known about VW's criminal activities, they may have sold shares earlier or not made purchases, thereby avoiding losses on their shareholdings, the plaintiffs argue. VW shares lost up to 37 per cent of their value in the days after authorities exposed illegal levels of pollution emitted from VW diesel cars.

Brexit augurs well for India-UK trade talks: Graham Stuart.
With the UK set to exit the European Union in less than a year, the British government is exploring ways to intensify trade and investment ties with India on a bilateral basis.
UK Minister for Investment Graham Stuart, who was recently in India to look for partnerships in the area of clean transport technology, believes that Brexit could augur well for trade ties between the two countries as a free trade pact would be easier to ink without the sensitivities of other EU members weighing it down.
The big picture is that there is a growing trading relationship between the UK and India. There is close political working as well.

September 11

NRI body seeks Indian citizenship to Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh.
A group of some Indian-American organisations in the US has launched a campaign seeking Indian citizenship to Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh who have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
The group under the banner of organisations like Singha Bahini America, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) and NavaBanga are seeking support for the Citizenship Bill 2016, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from India’s neighbouring nations who have come to the country for safety.
The members of the group had met Indian leaders during the recently concluded World Hindu Congress in Chicago.
Based on estimates, around 1.4 million to 2.5 million Hindus find themselves in a position to be stripped of their Indian citizenship.

Corruption costs $2.6 trillion or 5% of global GDP, says U.N. chief.
The cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion, or 5% of the global GDP, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to work effectively against money laundering, tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
The World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year, the U.N. chief during a session on tackling corruption for the sake of peace and international security.
Corruption is present in all the countries, rich and poor, the North and the South, developed and developing. Numbers show the startling scope of the challenge, citing the World Economic Forum estimates that corruption costs at least $2.6 trillion - or 5% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Global hunger on rise, warming to blame: UN.
The number of hungry people in the world is growing again, in large part due to climate change that is wreaking havoc on crop production in much of the developing world.
Major UN agencies an annual report that the number of hungry people facing chronic food deprivation increased to 821 million in 2017 from 804 million in 2016, reversing recent downward trends. South America and Africa showed the worst increase.
This message should frighten the world, head of the World Food Programme. Trump administration nominee, acknowledged that climate change as well as conflict were fuelling the rise in malnutrition globally.

September 12

For first time, India, Iran, Afghanistan hold trilateral.
India, Iran and Afghanistan held their first tripartite meeting in Kabul during which implementation of the Chabahar port project and a host of other issues including ways to deepen counter-terror cooperation were discussed.
The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale while the Iranian team was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai chaired the meeting.
The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan.
The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on Iran’s southern coast is being developed by India and Iran are also coming under the US sanctions on Iran.

Asean World Economic Forum begins in Vietnam.
The World Economic Forum for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) began and amid the ban of two human rights activists by Vietnamese authorities.
Amnesty International that Vietnam refused entry to its senior director of global operations, Minar Pimple, who was to due to speak on diversity and pluralism.
Amnesty's Secretary General Kumi Naidoo condemned the decision and it comes at a time where freedom of expression is under a threat in Vietnam.
Naidoo stressed that "the government's actions undermine an event that depends on a plurality of views" and denounced that "over the past year, the crackdown on freedom of expression in civil society in Vietnam has intensified".

India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurate three projects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated multiple projects in Bangladesh, through video conferencing.
The first project Supply of 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through Baharampur - Bheramara interconnection was unveiled by Prime Minister Modi, Bangladeshi counterpart Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The second project - construction work of the Bangladesh part of Akhaura-Agartala railway link was inaugurated by Indian and Bangladeshi Prime Ministers, and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb. The third project on the rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Minister of both the countries.
With the completion of the power project, 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh.

September 13

India signed 2 pacts with Rakhine State for capacity building, economic development
Indian Embassy signed two agreements with Myanmar's Rakhine State Government to facilitate capacity building and economic development in the province. The pacts will help promote agricultural mechanisation and support computer literacy among the youth of Rakhine State to prepare them for employment opportunities in the software sector.
As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Minerals of Rakhine, India will supply 15 tractors and 15 crawler harvesters to the State Government, to meet a key need expressed by the Peasants Union in the State. Under the MoU with Department of Social Affairs of the Rakhine State Government, the Indian Embassy will provide 40 computers and their associated peripherals to the Sittwe Computer University.
"The Government of India is committed to a strong development assistance partnership with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

India, Iran and Afghanistan hold tripartite meeting to consolidate cooperation; Chabahar Port, US sanctions discussed
India, Iran and Afghanistan held their first tripartite meeting in Kabul during which implementation of the Chabahar port project and a host of other issues including ways to deepen counter-terror cooperation were discussed. The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale while the Iranian team was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.
The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan.

2 day visit of External Affairs Minister to Moscow
External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj left for a two-day visit to Moscow, Russia. During her visit, she will attend the 23rd India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical and Economic Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC).

IRIGC-TEC is a standing body which annually meets and reviews ongoing activities of bilateral cooperation in the fields of bilateral trade and investment, science and technology, culture and other issues of mutual interest.

September 14

Vice President embarks on three-nation visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu embarked on a three-nation visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania on a weeklong trip from September 14-21. Sheduled to interact with the heads of states of all the three countries and witness the signing of MOUs.
The Vice President's visit is expected to strengthen India’s bilateral relations with these three countries. This visit will help the countries to exchange expertise and share knowledge in the fields of economy, environment, trade and culture.

September 16

Jaipur Literature Festival begins in Houston
Inclement weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of literature lovers who waited in long queues to meet their favourite authors at the inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival which began here with a soulful music performance followed by stimulating discussions.
The festival is touted as the world’s largest free literary festival. The inaugural session also saw Congress leader and writer Shashi Tharoor discuss his book “Why i am a Hindu” with writer Namita Gokhale. The annual festival began in 2006 and is held annually in Jaipur.

September 17

2nd Mt Everest Friendship Exercise: Nepal and China conducts second joint military exercise in Sichuan province
The second edition of Nepal-China joint military exercise with a special focus on combating terror would begin in China's southwestern Sichuan province.
The Nepal Army's 12 military personnel will visit China to attend the second edition of 'Mt Everest Friendship Exercise', a 12-day long military drill.
The exercise will mainly focus on anti-terrorism activities. Disaster management training will also be imparted in the training.
This will be the second time that the Nepal Army will participate in a joint military drill with People's Liberation Army.

India, Sri Lanka inks MoU for construction of 5000-MT temperature controlled warehouse
India and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of a 5000 metric ton temperature controlled warehouse in Dambulla of Central Province.
The warehouse will be constructed with an Indian grant assistance of 30 crore Sri Lankan rupees.
The project envisages construction of a 5000 metric ton temperature controlled warehouse for fruits and vegetables to minimize its post-harvest losses.
This initiative will benefit the farming community by reducing the wastage particularly in the peak season when there is surplus production.
This project is in continuation of Government of India’s efforts to partner with Government of Sri Lanka in people oriented development projects.

September 18

World's first hydrogen train rolls out in Germany: All about it
Germany launched world's first hydrogen-powered passenger train.
The locomotives, built by the French train-maker firm, Alstom, entered regular service, operating on a 62 mile stretch of line in northern Germany.
Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions.
This makes the cells a promising energy source that produces zero emissions and very little noise. Excess energy is stored in ion-lithium batteries on board the train.
Though they remain pricey than the diesel train, hydrogen fuel cells have advantages over batteries. Instead of recharging, it can easily be refueled like a gas or diesel engine. And because train schedules are highly predictable, it's easier to build refueling infrastructure. The locomotives are also eco-friendly.

PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurate Indo-Bangla friendship pipeline
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the cooperation between India and Bangladesh as an example for the world as he and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the construction of a friendship pipeline project through video conferencing.
The 130-kilometre India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project will connect Siliguri in West Bengal in India and Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh.
The Rs. 346 crore-project will be completed in 30 months and the capacity of the pipeline will be one million metric tons per annum.

Cabinet approves use of Bangladesh ports for Indian shipments to northeast
Bangladesh’s Cabinet approved the draft of a proposed agreement with India to allow it to use the Chittagong and Mongla sea ports for transporting goods to and from the northeastern States. The agreement will be effective for five years.

September 19

Exercise Aviaindra-18: Joint Air Force exercise of India and Russia commenced at Lipetsk
Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation. First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.
Exercise Aviaindra 18 is being conducted at Lipetsk, Russia and will be conducted in Jodhpur. The Indian contingent for Ex Aviaindra departed for Russia. The contingent comprises of 30 officers from different branches and streams of IAF including four women officers of Flying, Admin and Medical Branch. The aircraft that would participate in the exercise include Su-30 SM, Mig-29, Su-25, Mi-8 and An-26.
The aim of the exercise is focused towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario. The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations. In addition to flying exercise, there would be formal interactions, discussions, exchange of ideas and friendly sports matches to enhance bonhomie between the two Air Forces.

AAI to prepare project report for Sri Lanka's Palaly airport
State-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) will prepare a detailed project report for development of Palaly airport in Sri Lanka. This would be the first project for the AAI in the island nation.
The AAI has signed an agreement with External Affairs Ministry for "preparation of a Detailed Project Report for development of Palaly airport in Sri Lanka".
All the technical and design aspects would be covered in the DPR, which is expected to be completed in three months time.
The AAI has developed more than 60 airports in metro and non-metro cities in India and now the AAI wants to leverage its expertise to other countries on a bigger scale
The AAI manages more than 120 airports in different parts of the country.

PM Narendra Modi to meet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is due in India for a day-long visit that comes ahead of next month’s parliamentary polls in the landlocked country.
Ghani will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over lunch to discuss bilateral ties as well as regional security, including the possibility of peace talks with Taliban.
He will also address a “civic reception” organised by the India Foundation.

September 20

MoU signed for establishing Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Niger
India and Niger signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) in Niamey, Niger with the Indian government's grant assistance.
The agreement was signed by Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) T.S. Tirumurti and Ambassador of Republic of Niger in India Ali Illiassou.
The Convention Centre, which would be a spacious, modern and eco-friendly facility, is being established in the context of the African Union (AU) Summit that Niger is set to host next year, which would witness high-level and wide-ranging participation from AU member states.
The centre honours the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th birth anniversary is also being observed in 2019. The establishment of the centre is a landmark for Niger-India friendship and also a symbol of India's firm commitment towards Africa.

India contributes $1 million to UN’s ambitious solar project
India has contributed a whopping $1 million for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the imposing UN building at the world body’s headquarters.
The contribution will help reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy.
India is the “first responder” to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for climate action.

September 21

Seventh UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism held in Seoul, Republic of Korea
Seventh UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism was organized by The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The theme of the summit is: A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism.
The main focus of the Summit was the future of urban tourism in the context of the 2030 Urban Agenda.
It consisted of the following sessions:
Looking Towards 2030: An Innovative Approach to Competitiveness in Urban Destinations,
The 4th Industrial Revolution Shaping the Future of Urban Tourism, Fair and Inclusive Tourism: Building cities for all.

September 22

India, Nepal to explore using satellite images in boundary survey work
India and Nepal have agreed to explore the possibility of using high resolution satellite images in boundary survey work.
During the 5th meeting of the Nepal-India Boundary Working Group (BWG), which concluded, both sides also agreed to continue mapping of no-man's land encroachment and cross-border occupation.
The two countries also agreed to maintain status quo in cultivation of the disputed land until an agreement is reached between the two governments.
The three-day meeting also reviewed the outcome of the 4th BWG meet held in Dehradun last year and ensured that the guidelines issued earlier have been properly followed.

September 24

Nepal becomes first country to double tiger population
While the number of tigers in many countries is witnessing a decline, a recent survey led by the Government of Nepal has shown that the population of tigers has almost doubled in under a decade in the country.
According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an organisation dealing with wildlife conservation and endangered species, this news can help Nepal become the first country to double its national tiger population since the ambitious TX2, a goal to double tiger numbers in the wild by 2022, was set in 2010.

India only SAARC country to have a quit-line number for tobacco users
India has become the first and only SAARC country to have a quit-line number on tobacco products. The Union Health Ministry has already made 85% pictorial health warning mandatory on both sides of packets containing cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco.
The quit-line number will be printed on all tobacco products manufactured after September 1, 2018.
India is the fourth country in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to have this government helpline for those looking at quitting tobacco. At least 46 countries have quit-line numbers as part of health warning labels on tobacco product packaging.

September 26

Ministry of AYUSH sets up AYUSH Information Cell in Romania
To encourage practice of Ayurveda, India has set up an Ayush Information Cell at its embassy premises in Romania to create awareness about the traditional Indian system of medicine.
The cell would organize lectures, consultations, conduct seminars and training courses among the public in Romania.
The cell was digitally inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu during his visit to Romania.

September 27

WHO launches initiative to reduce harmful use of alcohol
The World Health Organization (WHO) released SAFER, a new initiative and technical package outlining the five high-impact strategies that can help governments reduce the harmful use of alcohol and related health, social and economic consequences.
SAFER is the newest WHO-led roadmap to support governments in taking practical steps to accelerate progress on health, beat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through addressing the harmful use of alcohol, and achieves development targets.
SAFER a package of proven interventions to reduce the harms caused by alcohol, and a new partnership to catalyze global action.

September 30

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visits Taj Mahal
President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. along with his wife, Ziroat Mirziyoyeva, visited the Taj Mahal and described it as a temple of eternal love. This was Mirziyoyev first visit to India since assuming office in 2016.
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma welcomed the visiting dignitary. On a two-day visit to India.


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