international - 2017 MARCH

March 1

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

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

March 2

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

March 3

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

March 4

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

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

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

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

March 5

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

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

March 6

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

Military trials for Civilians got approved at Bahrain Parliament.
Bahrain has approved a constitutional change allowing military courts to try civilians, a move widely criticized by activists.
The island's 40 member Consultative Council, the upper house of the Bahraini parliament appointed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Activists warn the amendment will allow an undeclared state of martial law on the island near Saudi Arabia that's home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

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

March 7

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

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

March 8

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

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

March 9

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

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

March 10

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

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

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

March 11

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

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

March 13

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

March 14

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

March 15

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

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