international - 2017 JANUARY

January 1

China announces ban on ivory trade by end of 2017.
China announced a plan to ban all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017, to prevent the mass killing and threat of extinction of African elephants.
The Chinese State Council’s plan to end the ivory trade will be carried out over the course of the year.
The government will no longer allow ivory products to be displayed in real or online markets only noncommercial sites, such as museums, will be allowed to display ivory.
According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature report, more than 20,000 Elephants are killed for their tusks each year, with much of the markets designated in China, Hong Kong, and the United States.

January 2

British government to launch new pound coin in March.
The British government will launch a new one pound coin at the end of March and scrap the current one by October.
The new one pound has a distinctive 12-sided shape, recognizable even by touch and it is made of two metals, the outer ring is gold-coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver-coloured (nickel-plated alloy).
And if the coin is tilted it shows a latent image, like a hologram, which changes from a pound sign to the number one.
It will also feature the fifth coinage portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-serving monarch who began her reign in 1952.
A total of 1.5 billion coins will be issued in the first minting.

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear facilities.
India and Pakistan exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan on January 1, 2017.
The bilateral agreement which is signed between the two countries every year on January Indo-Pakistan Nuclear Facilities List Exchange1 prohibits the two countries to carry out any surprise attack and pledged not to assist foreign powers to attack each other’s atomic facilities.
The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988 between the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her Indian counterparts Rajiv Gandhi and came into force on January 27, 1991. This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries with the first one signed on January 1, 1992.

Laser walls, smart sensors at India-Bangladesh border soon.
THE BORDER Security Force (BSF) is set to install laser walls and smart sensors along the Indo-Bangla international border in West Bengal to plug the porous riverine and unmanned terrain in the area in order to keep to check infiltration and terrorism.
The paramilitary force is using the Farheen laser wall technology at the Indo-Pakistan border and has reaped benefits through better management of the borders.
BSF DG K.K. Sharma and other top officials had recently toured the Indo-Bangla border area in Bengal and Tripura.
Of the 4,096 kilometer-long Indo-Bangladesh border, 2,216.7 is in West Bengal.
The decision to install laser walls in areas, where barbed wire fences could not be erected due to the treacherous terrain or marshy riverine topography was taken by the BSF two years ago.

Pakistan’s landmark Hindu marriage bill inches closer to enactment.
The much-awaited bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in Pakistan moved closer to reality after a Senate committee approved the landmark draft legislation, nearly four months after it was passed by the National Assembly.
The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 will become a law after it will be passed by the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament.
The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously approved the much-awaited Hindu Marriages Bill, paving the way to its presentation in the Senate.
The Senate committee under the chair of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Senator Nasreen Jalil took up the bill for discussion and later approved it.

January 3

China launches first freight train to BRITAIN.
China launched its first freight train to London, according to the China Railway Corporation.
The train will travel from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China to Barking, London, taking 18 days to travel over 7,400 miles.
The railway is a major strategic development to assist Xi Jinping's multi-billion dollar 'One Belt, One Road' strategy, according to the China-Europe Freight Rail Development Plan released in October.
The strategy was launched in 2013 and is an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Africa and Europe along old Silk Road trading routes.
China's exports totalled $2.27 trillion in 2015, slowing down from $2.34 trillion in 2014.
The 'One Belt, One Road' strategy is part of an effort to boost trade and economic growth.

India and Sri Lanka Agrees to find permanent solution to the fishermen issues.
A ministerial level talks between Indian Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Radha Mohan Singh and Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka Mahinda Amaraweera was held in Colombo on January 2, 2016.
Under the agreement reached after a meeting of JWG, both the countries agreed to release all Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen in each other’s custody.
During the discussion, the ministers exchanged views on possible mechanisms to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues.
Both countries agreed to a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to soon release and hand over fishermen in each other’s custody on completion of respective legal and procedural formalities.
The next JWG meeting will be held in Colombo in April 2017 to review the progress made in addressing the fishermen issues in a comprehensive manner.

UNSC passes Russian Drafted Resolution over Syrian Ceasefire.
The United Nation Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed a resolution drafted by Russia, to end the nearly six-year conflict in Syria and called for peace negotiations through nationwide Syrian ceasefire.
The resolution is an effort taken by Russia and Turkey which aims at stopping violence in Syria and launch a political process.
The UN body is also committed to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The resolution calls for the rapid, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria.
Russia delivers advanced Sukhoi jets to China.
Russia has finally delivered four Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China after a delay of two years as Moscow feared that its fifth generation jet will loose value after Chinese military unveiled its J-20 stealth fighter.
The Su-35 is an advanced version of the Su-30s operated by the Indian Airforce. The delivery was made on December 25, a news portal of the People’s Liberation Army reported.
Since the debut of the China’s stealth fighter J-20 fighter at Zhuhai Airshow, procurement of the Su-35 fighter jets has gone quite smoothly.
China has been ramping up its military aviation wing with a number of new fighter jets including two versions of the stealth fighters as well as J-15 a fighter plane to operate from the deck of its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning which has begun live fire drills in the disputed South China Sea.

January 4

First in world: Finland to pay unemployed basic income of $587 per month.
Finland has become the first country in world to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a social experiment hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.
The two-year trials with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens receive unemployment benefits kicked off January 1.
Those 2,000 unemployed chosen will receive 560 euros every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.
The unemployment rate of Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, stood at 8.1% in November with some 213,000 people without a job - unchanged from the previous year.