international - 2017 February

February 1

Mexicans boycott US products to protest Trump's wall tax.
Mexican consumers have started boycotting US products and US companies like Walmart, Starbucks and McDonalds protesting US President Donald Trump administration's proposed 20 per cent tax on Mexican imports.
The tax was aimed at making Mexico pay for a 2000-mile border wall even after the country's President, Enrique Pena Nieto,told Mexico will not pay for it.

PM Modi to be 'Guest of Honour' at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, scheduled from June 1 to 3, as the 'Guest of Honour'.
This is to confirm that India has been invited as a Guest Country at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum which will be held in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia from June 1 to 3, 2017.
The forum brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, political leaders, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, departmental ministers, and governors.
The key purpose of the forum is to provide a practical tool for business, helping to overcome the barriers, both geographical and informational, dividing Russia and other countries.

Isreal to build 3,000 new homes in WEST BANK.
Israel Government decided to build 3000 units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem.
An Israeli official stated that Israel will be constructing the buildings in settlements located in the West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem.
The official added that the decision was made ''in response to the Palestinian bid at the UN General Assembly'' in which the Palestinians were voted in as a non-member state after Israel138 countries voted for the bid, while only 9 countries voted against and 41 countries abstained.

Tesla unveils world’s largest battery storage plant.
Elon Musk-led electric car maker Tesla unveiled the world's largest battery storage plant in California, installed in just 94 days.
The plant contains 396 Tesla Powerpacks, each fitted with 16,000 lithium-ion battery cells.
The plant produces enough energy to power 2,500 homes all day or 15,000 homes for four hours.

February 2

Theresa May receives UK Parliament's approval to begin Brexit process.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May received Parliament's approval to begin the process of Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) after winning a crucial vote in the House of Commons.
British MPs voted in favour of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill after two days of debate by a majority of 384 - 498 votes in favour to 114 against.

Kuwait bans visa for 5 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan.
Kuwait has suspended the issuance of visas for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
After US President Donald Trump's executive order banning seven Muslim-majority countries, the Kuwaiti government has told would-be migrants from the five banned nations to not apply for visas, as it is worried about the possible migration of radical Islamic terrorists, Sputnik International reported.
Kuwait was the only nation to prohibit the entry of Syrian nationals prior to Trump's executive action. Kuwait City previously issued a suspension of visas for all Syrians in 2011.

February 3

UN report blames Pakistan for delay in resolution of Indus water issues with India.
Pakistan has neglected to resolve trans-border water issues and delayed presenting the cases of dispute with India to the Water Commission related to the Indus Waters Treaty, a United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).
The report also claims that the 40-year-old Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan has been an outstanding example of conflict resolution but scarcity of water in the basin states since the early 1990s has brought the agreement under strain and its "survival appears weak".
Wular Barrage and Kishenganga project on the Jhelum and Neelum rivers present a similar problem whereby water storage during the Rabi season is critical as flows are almost one-fifth of the Kharif season, according the report.

Right to Information Act came into force in Sri Lanka.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act came into force in Sri Lanka on 3rd February, a legislation aimed at restoring transparency and good governance in the country that has been plagued by corruption and misrule.
The government had last week gazetted the categories of public authorities that fall within the purview of the RTI.
The public authorities under which the RTI request falls are liable to respond to these requests within the specified timelines, subject to a maximum of 28 days.

February 4

Mexico, Turkey speed up free trade negotiations.
Mexico and Turkey will speed up negotiations to sign a bilateral trade agreement, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray at an event in Mexico City with his Turkish counterpart.
A point of interest for both countries is to continue dialogue to build a free trade agreement between Turkey and Mexico.
Luis Videgaray is at the forefront of fraught trade, immigration and security discussions with top trade partner the United States, told he wanted to see more Turkish companies in Mexico, particularly in construction and agriculture. Cavusoglu echoed Videgaray’s sentiments and told they were also looking into the possibility of direct flights between the two countries.

US imposes new sanctions on Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump slapped fresh sanctions on Iran's weapons procurement network on 3rd February, provoking an angry response from Tehran in what is an increasingly tense stand-off.
US have imposed sanction on more than two dozen Iranian entities after Islamic republic dismissed President Donald Trump’s warnings over the missile test saying it as baseless and provocative.
The missile test carried out by Iran violated the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, that Tehran cannot test missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

February 5

Sweden pledges to cut all greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Sweden's deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin signed a climate bill aimed at cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 2045.
Sweden wanted to set an example at a time when ''climate sceptics are really gaining power in the world again''.
Isabella Lövin feels encouraged by China's and India's pledges taken for Paris Agreement commitments.

Qatar Airways launches world's longest flight.
Qatar Airways launched the world's longest scheduled commercial service with its inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland.
The inaugural service of Flight QR920 took off on February 5, 2017 from Doha and will take 16 hours and 20 minutes to travel 14,535 kilometers to reach Auckland in New Zealand.
The Boeing 777 flight will take 16 hours and 20 minutes, pass over 10 time zones, five countries and travel 14,535 kilometres before reaching Auckland.
But even that flying time may be looked on jealously by passengers on the return flight which, due to high-altitude winds, will take 17 hours and 30 minutes.
This will make it the world's longest passenger service in terms of flying time.

February 6

Indian Coast Guard, UAE counter parts to take part in joint exercise.
In an effort to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and UAE, the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Pavak made a goodwill visit at the Mina Al Rashid (Dubai Port) from February 4 to 7, 2017.
The Indian Ambassador in UAE Navdeep Suri visited the Indian Navy ship on February 5, 2017. During the stay at port Rashid, a series of activities is scheduled to take place between Indian and UAE coast guard.
As a part of the visit, a joint exercise is scheduled to take place between Indian coast guard and UAE coast guard to enhance co-operation and exchange of operational expertise.
Samudra Pavak or ''Purifier of the Seas'' is the third ship of the Pollution Control Vessel series of the Indian Coast Guard that was indigenously designed and commissioned in January 2016.

February 7

China becomes world's largest producer of solar power.
China has surpassed Germany to become the world's largest producer of solar energy after nearly doubling its installed photovoltaic capacity in 2016.
With the increased capacity, China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy last year, which however accounted for only 1 per cent of its electrical output.
The country further plans to double its current solar energy capacity by 2020.

Israel Passes Law Legalising Settler Homes on Palestinian Land.
Israel passed a law retroactively legalising about 4,000 settler homes built on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, a measure that has drawn international concern.
The legislation has been condemned by Palestinians as a blow to their hopes of statehood. But its passage may only be largely symbolic as it contravenes Israeli Supreme Court rulings on property rights.

February 8

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs law decriminalising domestic violence offence.
The Russian leader passed the new law reducing the punishment for the offence of ''battery of a relative''.
President Putin changed the offence from a criminal to a civil matter in cases when the victim suffered no serious harm.
The aim is to protect the rights of parents want to discipline their children, supporters say. Anyone causes serious harm will still face criminal charges.
But women's rights campaigners have hit out at the move amid fears that domestic abuse rates could raise.
The offence of battery of a relative, in cases where there are no broken bones, previously carried a maximum prison sentence of two years. Now offenders face a fine or 15 days in prison if the offence has not happened more than once in a year.

February 9

Nepal to create world’s highest free WiFi service at Everest base camp.
Nepal will create free WiFi zones at the base camp of Mount Everest to facilitate communications from the world’s highest mountain and to aid rescue efforts in the event of any contingencies.
The base camp is located at the height of 5,360 metres (17,600 feet), making this the highest location at which free WiFi services will be available.
Nepal’s telecom service providers have extended mobile and landline services to the base camp, ending an era of expensive satellite phones, but it is still a distant dream to use mobile phones atop the 8,848-metre Everest, according to tourism entrepreneurs.

UK's House of Commons passes bill authorizing Brexit.
Britain's lower house of Parliament passed legislation to allow Prime Minister Theresa May's government to officially begin the Brexit process.
Now that the legislation has been approved by the House of Commons, it will be put before the House of Lords for a final decision later this month.
Members of the House of Commons had already voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill to kick off Britain's divorce from the European Union in its initial readings, and a seven-hour debate on amendments preceded the final vote, which were 494 MPs in favour and 122 against.