international - 2017 September

September 1

Joint Proposal by India & China in WTO on Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS)
India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, known as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
The proposal is signicant in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, which is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. It counters the efforts of some countries to target the subsidies of the developing countries while letting the developed countries retain their huge farm subsidies.
The proposal reveals that developed countries including the US, the EU and Canada have been consistently providing trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers at much higher levels than the ceiling applicable to developing countries.
Developed countries have more than 90 percent of the global AMS entitlements amounting to mnearly US$ 160 bn
Most of the developing countries including India and China do not have AMS entitlements.

Lebanon gets first law to protect animals
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has officially signed an animal welfare and protection law. It guarantees that domestic and wild animals will be legally protected from abuse in the country.
The law passed by parliament. It outlines requirements for keeping domestic pets, regulations for zoos and pet shops, and penalties for violations with fines and upto 4 years in prison.
The importance of this law is that it can cover all institutions that care for and maintain animals.
Now, Lebanon has a strong and comprehensive law to give animals the legal protection they need and to punish those who abuse them.

September 2

India-ETFA to hold FTA talks
In a bid to expedite the implementation of their proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement, officially known as a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) for boosting trade and investment ties, India and Australia have decided to soon hold the next round of negotiations on it.
Negotiations began in May 2011 on the proposed India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) aimed at opening up bilateral investment as well as trade in goods and services. So far nine rounds of talks have been held with the last one being in September 2015.
The proposed FTA between India and EFTA covers trade in goods and services, investments, IRPR protection, trade facilitation, customs cooperation and public procurement. The early conclusion of the proposed FTA between India and EFTA as well as an investment protection framework will boost economic ties between the two sides. The India-EFTA bilateral trade was worth $19 billion in 2016-17 from $21.5 billion in 2015-16. The trade balance was in favour of EFTA members.

World’s tallest sandcastle built in Germany
An international team of sand artists have built the world's tallest sandcastle in Germany.
Travel Company Schauinsland-Reisen initiated the project, hoping to bring the world record to Duisburg after the city's attempt failed in 2016.
After almost a month of construction, the finished sandcastle stood at 16.68 metres and was officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the tallest sandcastle in the world.
According to Sand carver Lucas Brueggemann, thousand more tonnes of sand were used this year, allowing for a broader base and better compressed sand.
The previous record was held by the Sudarsan Sand Institute for a sandcastle built in February 2017 on the beach at Puri in the Indian state of Odisha. It stood at 14.84 metres and was built in nine days.

September 3

North Korea’s 6th nuke test 9.8 times powerful than 5th: S Korea
The “artificial quake” in North Korea thought to be its sixth nuclear test was five to six times more powerful than the fifth nuclear test.
As per the South’s Yonhap news agency reported it was 9.8 times more powerful than the tremor from Pyongyang’s fifth test.
According to Japan the explosion was ten times the strength of Pyongyang’s test last September, while reports from South Korea was up to five times more powerful than the Nagasaki bomb in 1945.

Muslim dominated Tajikistan bans veils for women
The Tajikistan government has banned its women from wearing veils and Tajikistan government has introduced a legislation, wherein it has asked the women to “stick to traditional national clothes and culture”.
The new legislation does not introduce a penalty for breaking the rule, but some have claimed that fines could be introduced at a later date.
Under existing laws, women wearing hijabs are already banned from entering the country’s government offices.
Officials approached more than 8,000 women wearing hijabs in the capital of Dushanbe and ordered them to wear their scarves in the Tajik style.

September 4

Nepal signs UN development assistance plan
Nepal has signed a USD 635 million UN assistance package for 2018-2022 to lay out the country's development strategy for the next five years.
The package involving 26 individual UN agencies, spans interventions aimed at assisting in four broad areas: inclusive economic growth; social development; resilience, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction; and governance, rule of law and human rights.
The National Planning Commission, apex advisory body of the Government of Nepal, and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Nepal signed the the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
The UNDAF lays out the development strategy for the UN Country Team for the next five years.
The strong alignment of the UNDAF with the national plans, international conventions, and the Constitution of Nepal help in supporting the Government of Nepal’s efforts in ensuring that no one is left behind as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Seychelles ratifies international solar alliance framework pact
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) took another step closer to becoming a recognized inter-governmental body under the United Nations charter, after Seychelles became the ninth member to ratify the ISA Framework Agreement.
With this, the ISA will need the ratification of just six more countries to become a recognized inter-governmental body. Till now India, France, Nauru, Niger, Fiji, Mauritius, Tuvalu and Bangladesh have ratified the ISA Framework Agreement.
The ISA aims to get at least six more countries on board before October-end.

India despatches First Diesel Consignment to Myanmar
The first consignment of 30 MT of High Speed Diesel was sent from India to Myanmar by land route.
Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL), which has been supplying HSD to Bangladesh, despatched the first diesel consignment through NH 37 across the Moreh Custom Check Point on the Indian side and Tamu Custom Check Point on the Myanmar side.
It is to enhance hydrocarbon synergy with neighbouring countries as well as promoting India’s Act East Policy.
NRL refinery, situated at 420 km from the India-Myanmar border, is suited to supply diesel to Northern Myanmar.
NRL has entered into an agreement with Parami Energy Group of Companies for the supply of diesel and collaboration in the retail petroleum sector of Myanmar.
NRL has already exported 1700 MT of Paraffin wax to Myanmar.

September 5

Nepal Parliament endorses laws barring criminals, corrupt from contesting polls
Nepal’s Parliament has endorsed an electoral law for upcoming elections to the federal and provincial council which bars people involved in corruption and criminal offences to stand as candidates.
The bill was endorsed by holding three rounds of meetings
Lawmakers of the ruling Nepali Congress demanded flexibility over the provision but allowed the bill to be presented in Parliament.
Home affairs minister Janardan Sharma, while presenting the bill concerning elections in province.
Federal Councils briefed Parliament over questions raised about the provisions.
It helps to manage and help the functioning of Parliament and improve the participation and representation.
The new bill includes a candidate, who fights for proportional seat in the House of Representatives should acquire at least 3% of the votes cast to acquire a seat in the Provincial Assembly.
Nepal is set to hold two rounds of provincial and federal elections in November and December 2017.
The newly endorsed bill bars a person who faced punishment over aforementioned offences and one spent more than 20 years of imprisonment over various issues.

Cuba begins 5-month political transition
Cuba began a five-month political transition expected to end with Raul Castro’s departure from the presidency, capping his family’s near-total dominance of the country’s political system for nearly 60 years.
Over the rest of the month, Cubans will meet in small groups to nominate municipal representatives. Cuban officials say 12,515 block-level districts will nominate candidates for city council elections.
In the second electoral stage, a commission dominated by government-linked organisations will pick all the candidates for elections to provincial assemblies and Cuba’s national assembly.
The congress is expected to pick the president and members of the powerful Council of State.

September 6

India, Myanmar sign 11 MoUs in range of sectors
India and Myanmar have signed 11 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in range of sectors, including one on maritime security cooperation.
The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.
It was first bilateral visit of PM Narendra Modi to Myanmar and overall second. The focus of visit was to strengthen cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy and culture between both countries.
Signed Agreements are
MoU on Maritime Security Cooperation.
Cultural Exchange Programme for year 2017-2020.
MoU on Cooperation in Medical Products Regulation.
MoU on cooperation in the field of Health and medicine.
Technical Agreement for providing Coastal Surveillance System.
Exchange of Letter for Extension of MoU on the establishment of MIIT.
MoU for Upgradation of Women’s Police Training Centre at Yamethin, Myanmar.
MoU for Sharing White Shipping Information between Indian Navy and Myanmar Navy.
MoU in the field of elections between Election Commission of India and Election Commission of Myanmar.
Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Press Council of India and Myanmar Press Council.
Exchange of Letter for Extension of MoU on establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT-Skill.

September 7

India, Japan to step up defence cooperation
India and Japan have agreed to collaborate closely in defence production, including on dual-use technologies. Decision in this regard was taken at the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue held in Tokyo.
The annual defence ministerial dialogue aimed to further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the framework of the ‘Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
The decision of both countries to boost defence ties comes amid escalating tension in region in wake of China’s growing assertiveness in South China Sea and nuclear test by North Korea. Further during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in 2016, both sides had decided to ramp up bilateral defence and security cooperation and explore ways to further deepen it.
Both countries resolved to ramp up overall military engagement under bilateral special strategic framework. They agreed to ramp up counter-terror cooperation, besides deepening engagement among navies, air forces and ground armed forces of two countries.

September 8

India refuses to sign Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue
India refused to sign Bali Declaration adopted at the World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development in Indonesia.
The Bali Declaration referred to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Bali Declaration called on all parties to contribute to restoring stability and security in the region.
The Declaration urged everyone to “exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect the human rights of all people in Rakhine state regardless of their faith and ethnicity, as well as facilitate and guarantee safe access for humanitarian assistance”.
There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar. As of September 2017, nearly half of them have fled to other countries.The majority are Muslim while a minority are Hindu.
Many Rohingyas have fled to southeastern Bangladesh, where there are 500,000 refugees as well as to India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. According to the United Nations, the human rights violations against the Rohingyas could be termed “crimes against humanity”.

Pakistan’s Habib Bank kicked out of US over terror financing charge
The Department of Financial Services has fined USD 225 million to Pakistan’s Habib Bank and its New York branc0068.
The bank has failed to comply with laws and regulations designed to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial transactions.
Habib Bank, Pakistan’s largest private lender, has been ordered by the US banking regulators to shut down its New York office after nearly 40 years of operation.
According to the report, Habib Bank had allowed 13,000 transactions that were not sufficiently screened to ensure they did not involve sanctioned countries.
The bank has repeatedly been given more than sufficient opportunity to correct its glaring deficiencies, yet it has failed to do so.
Habib Bank has been operating in the US since 1978.

September 9

India slaps countervailing duty on some Chinese steel products
India has slapped countervailing duty for a period of five years on certain Chinese flat steel products to guard domestic players from imports that are subsidised by the exporting nation, a decision hailed both by the industry and steel ministry.
The commerce ministry's investigation arm - Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) - in its probe had concluded that despite sufficient demand in India and capacities, the domestic industry has lost sales opportunities, which is a direct consequence of subsidised imports from China.
The decision to impose CVD was taken by the finance ministry after the DGAD's recommendation.

September 10

Jordon launches Sahara Forest Project
Jordan launched Sahara Forest Project to turn its sand dunes into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.
King Abdullah II and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon attended the ceremony to mark the official opening of the project near the southern port city of Aqaba.
The ambitious project is funded by Norway and the European Union.
In the first stage, the project aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables per year from an area the size of four football pitches.
The project will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses, a water desalination unit and salt ponds for salt production.
The project will be expanded from three hectares to around 200 hectares of desert.

September 11

Second Indian Worker’s Resource centre inaugurated in UAE
To provide support and counseling to Indians in distress, India opened the second Indian Workers’ Resource Centre (IWRC) in Sharjah, UAE. Inaugurated by Indian Ambassador in UAE Navdeep Singh Suri, IWRC will help the overseas Indian community on legal, personal and financial matters, free of cost.
The first IWRC was opened in Dubai in 2010.
Members of the Indian Community can call this centre from anywhere in UAE through a toll-free number 800 INDIA or 80046342.
The helpline will work 24x7 and will have a multi lingual facility to help the Indian diaspora staying in UAE.
Working with help groups, individuals, social workers and related bodies to offer assistance to Indian community members.

Pakistan PM inaugurates China-backed fifth nuclear power plant
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the China-backed 340 MegaWatt (MW) nuclear power plant in its Punjab province. The fifth nuclear C-4 plant is located at Chashma in Mianwali district of the Punjab province.
This nuclear power plant will address the issue of power shortage and it is also a source of cheap energy.
Chashma already has three nuclear power plants known as C-1, C-2 and C-3 which are contributing to the national grid along with a similar plant in Karachi.
Pakistan is also building two more nuclear power plants in Karachi known as K-2 and K-3 aimed to give a major boost to civil nuclear energy after completion.

September 12

UNSC unanimously adopts new sanctions against North Korea
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed new set of tougher sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test (claimed to be Hydrogen bomb)
It was overall the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by UNSC since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new sanctions imposes ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.
It limits on imports of crude oil and oil products to North Korea. It bans exports of textiles, which is North Korea’s second-biggest export worth more than $700million a year. It also limits North Koreans from working overseas, which may cut off $500 million of tax revenue per year.

Hurricane Irma – World’s longest storm to bear 185 mph winds in 30 years
Hurricane Irma has become the first storm in the world to sustain winds of 185 miles per hour for more than 24 hours. It’s the longest storm to sustain this speed since the 1970s.
The hurricane, which has already devastated several islands in the Caribbean, is headed toward south Florida, where the National Hurricane Center has issued evacuation orders.
It has thrashed several smaller islands with tree-snapping winds, drenching rains and pounding surf on a collision course with Florida.
The tiny island of Barbuda, which has a population of 1,800 was devastated.
It’s already one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and part of a trio of hurricanes that are building in the region.

September 13

India, Belarus sign 10 pacts to Expand Cooperation
India and Belarus inked 10 pacts to expand cooperation in a range of areas and decided to explore joint development and manufacture of military platforms, giving a fresh momentum in bilateral ties.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Belarus President A.G. Lukashenko, during their extensive talks, also agreed to focus on ramping up economic engagement between the two countries, holding that there was a huge scope for boosting trade and investment.
Signed MoUs/Agreements
MoU in the Oil and Gas Sector
MoU for Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education
Programme of cooperation in the field of culture for 2018-2020
MoU between Sports Ministry and Ministry of Education of Belarus
MoU for Cooperation in the Field of Vocational Education and Training
MoU between JSC Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL)
Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and Indian National Science Academy (INSA)

September 14

India, Japan ink 15 agreements for enhancing bilateral co-operation
India and Japan signed 15 agreements for enhancing bilateral cooperation in key areas including civil aviation, trade, science and technology, and skill development.
Among various agreements, both the sides exchanged RoD (Record of Discussions) on civil aviation cooperation with respect to open sky. With this agreement, Indian and Japanese carriers can now undertake unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other's countries.
The agreements were signed during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India
MoU on International Academic and Sports Exchange
MoC in field of Japanese Language Education in India
Exchange of RoD on Civil Aviation Cooperation (Open Sky)
MOC between Ministry of Home Affairs and Cabinet Office of Japan
India-Japan Investment Promotion Road map between DIPP and METI
MoU between DBT and National Institute of Advanced Science & Technology (AIST)
Arrangement between India Post and Japan Post for the Implementation of Cool EMS service.
MoU between RIS and IDE-JETRO for promotion of Cooperation in Research Related Activities.
MOC between METI and Gujarat on ‘Japan-India special programme for Make In India’ in Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj in Gujarat
India-Japan Act East Forum: To enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in North East India in efficient and effective manner.
Joint Research Contract India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and between National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Japan.
Agreement for International joint exchange programme between interdisciplinary theoretical and mathematical sciences programme, RIKEN and National Centres for Biological Sciences
Government launches Operation Insaniyat to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
The Union Ministry of External Affairs launched Operation Insaniyat in Bangladesh to help Rohingya refugees.
The Operation was launched in response to the humanitarian crisis being faced on account of the large influx of refugees into Bangladesh.
Under Operation Insaniyat, India will distribute relief material consisting of items required urgently by the affected people. These materials are rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready to eat noodles, biscuits, mosquito nets etc.
The relief material will be delivered in multiple consignments.
The first tranche was brought to Chittagong by an Indian Air Force.
The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine State, Myanmar.
There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar. nearly half of them have fled to other countries.

September 15

India, Japan sign open sky agreement
India and Japan have agreed to ink open sky arrangement to allow airlines from both countries to operate unlimited number of flights.
In this regard, both countries exchanged RoD (Record of Discussions) on civil aviation cooperation with respect to open sky. It was exchanged after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan PM Shino Abe.
The open sky agreement will be signed in accordance with the National Civil
Aviation Policy (NACP), 2016. It will not only help to encourage connectivity and Passenger travel between two countries, but also result in reduction in airfares on the air routes between two countries.

China displays its first unmanned attack helicopter
China displayed its first unmanned combat helicopter AV500W for foreign buyers in the northeastern Tianjin city, China.
Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), state-owned aircraft manufacturer, displayed the military observation cum combat helicopter at the fourth China Helicopter Expo, in China.
This has been done in a move to enlarge its market of military drones abroad.
The AV500W was designed and produced by AVIC Helicopter Research and Development Institute in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province of China.
The aircraft’s length is 7.2 meters. Its maximum take-off weight is 450 kg.
It can carry 120 kg of weapons and equipment. Its maximum speed is 170 km per hour.
It can stay in observation mode for 8 hours in the air. Whereas in observation cum combat mode it can fly up to 4 hours.

September 16

India, Japan ink MoU set up India-Japan Act East Forum
India and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up India Japan Act East Forum to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in Northeast India.
It was one of the 15 major agreements signed between both countries during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India for the 12th Indo-Japan annual summit.
The purpose of forum is to converge India’s Act East Policy with Japan’s Free and Open Asia-Pacific strategy in the backdrop of China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
It will enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in India’s Northeast region in an efficient and effective manner. It can complement India’s connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh, Myanmar and beyond, besides BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Motor Vehicle Agreements.
Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims
Tunisian government has lifted a ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims on the recommendation of the president.
Muslim men were allowed to marry non-Muslim women, but not the other way around.
The announcement came a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to lift the ban dating back to 1973.
He created a commission led by a woman lawyer and rights activists aimed at drafting revised rules.
Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.
Tunisian man is allowed to marry a non-Muslim woman.
Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban’s abolition, saying it diminish the fundamental human right to choose a spouse.

September 17

Russia, Iraq restore air travel after 13-years
Russia and Iraq restored scheduled commercial airline services for the first time since 2004, in what officials hailed as a sign of stability returning to the war-torn country.
An Iraqi Airways plane left Baghdad at 10.31 am (0731 GMT) and was expected to arrive at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport at 2.19 pm (1119 GMT), according to the Russian airport’s online departure and arrival timetables.
It is a signal on the part of the Iraqi authorities that Russian nationals can safely visit Iraq.
The two countries may also later agree on air travel to the Iraqi city of Basra.
Russia suspended regular flights to Iraq in 2004 after the US-led invasion in 2003 flinged the Arab country into war.

September 18

Japan releases postage stamps on Indian Yoga experts
Acknowledging the role played by yoga legend Bishnu Charan Ghosh and his family members in spreading Indian postural yoga in Japan, the Japanese postal department has released postage stamps on four of Bengal’s famous exponents of the ancient Indian practice.
The stamps on Bishnu Charan Ghosh, his son Biswanath Ghosh, daughter Karuna Ghosh and Karuna’s father in law Asutosh Ghosh, that were released recently in Japan, were official showcased by the Japanese Consul General in Kolkata, Masayuki Taga.
This is the first time Japan has released postal stamps on any yoga experts. It is a result of the constant endeavour by the four yogis to create a close cultural linkage between the two countries by popularising the Indian form of yoga in Japan.

China opens dual-use highway to Nepal through Tibet
China opened a dual use highway in Tibet to the Nepal border which could be used for civilian and defence purposes, in China.
The highway is 40.4 km long and 25 m wide. It has 4 double lanes. It is classified a first-tier highway.
It connects Xigaze airport and Xigaze city centre in Tibet. It has a short section linking the national highway to the Nepal border.
This could be used for both civilian and defence purposes
The highway will reduce half of the journey time between the Xigaze airport and Xigaze city.
This road would help to ease the traffic congestions and export economy of China.

September 19

China issues stamp commemorating world’s largest radio telescope
China issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the world's largest radio telescope located in Guizhou province.
The State Post Bureau (SPB) has issued a set of five stamps, including one commemorating the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope priced at 1.2 yuan, reports Xinhua news agency.
The other four stamps honour China's quantum science experimental satellite "Mozi", the research vessel Tansuo-1, a national grain production project around the Bohai Sea and the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer.
With an investment of 1.2 billion yuan, the telescope is single-dish with a diametre of half a kilometre.
It was built in the Dawodang depression, a natural karst basin in Pingtang County in Guizhou. The telescope is designed to probe space for the faintest signs of life and is sensitive to any electromagnetic interference.
Surrounding areas are open to visitors. But the number of visitors is strictly controlled below 2,000 people per day and electronic devices including cell phones and cameras are prohibited.

IDF, US Army inaugurates first American military base in Israel
The US Army and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) inaugurated a permanent base on Israeli soil. This is the first time that a permanent American base has been opened in the Middle Eastern country.
The base represents the long-standing partnership, the strategic commitment between the armies and the militaries of the United States of America and Israel.
Several dozen American soldiers will be stationed at the base in Israel’s south, which America and Israel have been working on for two years.
One of the most important factors in the United States Government’s overall policy in the Middle East is the Israel-United States relations.
The main expression of Congressional support for Israel has been foreign aid.
Since 1985, it has provided around USD3 billion in grants annually to Israel, with Israel being the largest annual recipient of American aid from 1976 to 2004 and the largest cumulative recipient of aid since World War II.

September 20

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on WhatsApp, Skype & other internet calling apps
Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on internet calling applications like WhatsApp, Skype etc.
The lift of ban on internet calling apps has been done in a move to lower online restrictions. Since, Saudi Arabia has been criticized heavily over censorship.
According to The Government the access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) would reduce operational costs.
Also, this would bring a digital transformation by improving internet based businesses, mainly in the media and entertainment sectors.
This announcement was made a day after Al Jazeera media condemned Snapchat for blocking a Qatar broadcaster from its app in Saudi Arabia on the request of Saudi authorities.

Russia unveils monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of iconic AK-47 rifle
Russia unveiled a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle that became the most lethal weapon ever made and the best known Russian brand abroad.
This weapon is Russia’s defense. It’s one of Russia’s symbols. Perched atop a pedestal in a tiny square on Moscow’s busy Garden Ring thoroughfare, the statue of Kalashnikov, who died in 2013, has him dressed in a bomber jacket and clutching an AK-47 in both hands.
The AK-47, the small-arms mainstay of Russia’s armed forces for over 60 years, is also featured on the national emblems of several African nations and on that of East Timor.

September 21

India & Sri Lanka sign MoU to upgrade Thondaman Vocational Training Centre in Srilanka
India and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to upgrade the Thondaman Vocational Training Centre (TVTC), Hatton located in the Nuwara Eliya District.
The upgradation of the Centre will be carried out with a grant of SLR 199 million from the Government of India. The project includes, construction of new infrastructure facilities viz. classrooms, IT lab, auditorium and retaining walls around the complex, as well as renovation of existing buildings
The project also includes the supply of machinery, equipment and tools for the new courses, furniture and vehicles.
A total of 500 Sri Lankan youth are expected to be trained as skilled workers suited to the job market, annually, with the completion of the project.
The project is in line with the Indian Government’s efforts to assist and cooperate with the Sri Lankan government, in the field of vocational training and skills development.

September 22

China launches world’s fastest bullet train running between Beijing and Shanghai
China has restored the maximum speed of bullet trains on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line to 350 kilometres per hour, making it the fastest commercially run train, six years after it reduced the speed due to a fatal accident.
The speed was reduced to 300 kilometres per hour following the deadly accident in July 2011 that killed 40 people.
A Fuxing bullet train departed Beijing South Railway Station for Shanghai. The speed hike will cut the 1,318 kilometre Beijing Shanghai journey to 4 hours 28 minutes, cutting the train time by nearly an hour.
China started to run its first 350-kilometres per hour high speed train between Beijing and Tianjin in August 2008 and opened at least three more such high-speed lines nationwide in the following years.

September 23

Hasina floats five-point peace plan
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has floated a five-point peace proposal at United Nations to find a permanent solution to Rohingya crisis. She called for immediate steps to end ethnic cleansing of Rohingya minority as it has deepened crisis along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar where over 430,000 refugees fleeing violence in Rakhine State since August 2017.
Five-point proposal
Myanmar must stop violence and practice of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State unconditionally, immediately and forever.
UN Secretary General should immediately send fact-finding mission to Myanmar.
All civilians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity, must be protected in Myanmar. For this, safe zones can be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.
vSustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar.
Recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission Report must be implemented immediately, unconditionally and entirely.

September 24

US, EU sign deal to streamline insurance regulation
The United States and the European Union have signed an agreement for smooth regulations on international insurance and reinsurance companies and free up capital for investment.
The agreement with the EU is a positive sign for the United States, its insurance industry, and US policyholders.
The deal will facilitate exchange of information among supervisors, which will help boost consumer protection.
This deal took 20 years in the making. As per the government the deal negotiated by former US president Barack Obama’s administration and announced just before he left office in January.
It will offer “enhanced regulatory certainty” to the companies, reducing red tape while maintaining robust consumer protections.
By reducing the regulatory burden companies face, the deal enables American companies to be more competitive in the EU.

September 25

Saudi Arabia allows women into sports stadium for 1st time
Saudi Arabian women were allowed to attend celebrations at a sports stadium in Riyadh, for the first time in its history.
Women were allowed to enter a sports stadium for the first time in Saudi Arabia’s history to attend Saudi Arabia’s national day celebrations.
Generally, women are not allowed to enter any of the sports arenas in Saudi Arabia as per rule.
The celebrations took place at King Fahd stadium in Riyadh. Celebrations included concerts, folk dance and fireworks.
Women with their families were seated separately from single men in the stadium.
The extremely conservative Saudi kingdom is relaxing some rules as a part of its “Vision 2030” plan for economic and social reforms.

September 26

Pakistani Navy successfully tests anti-ship missile
The Pakistan Navy successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile from a helicopter in the northern Arabian Sea.
The anti-ship missile fired from the Sea King helicopter into the open sea successfully hit its target.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah monitored the missile firing demonstration.
In March 2017, the Pakistan Navy conducted a successful test of a land-based anti-ship missile.
The trial was conducted from the coastal region and the missile successfully hit its target placed in the sea.
Pakistan Navy purchased 7 Westland Sea King multi-role helicopters from the United Kingdom in May 2017.

’Incredible India’ campaign launched in Cairo
India has launched a campaign to attract Egyptian travelers and make them aware of alluring holiday options in the country.
The campaign will run on five routes in East, Middle, North, South and Giza parts of Cairo Metropolitan area.
The campaign has been organized by the Embassy of India in Cairo, in coordination with the India Tourism Office in Dubai, the Cairo Governorate, and the Cairo Public Transport Authority.
It was flagged off jointly by India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Governor of Cairo Governorate Eng Atef Abdel Hamid and officials from Cairo Transport Authority.
Under the campaign 12 buses of transport authority will showcase various tourist destinations in India.
It will include culture, festivals, monuments, landscape, wildlife, people and food.
The campaign also aims to connect tour operators of both the countries.

September 27

WADA suspends French anti-doping lab
The French anti-doping laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry was provisionally suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
This provisional suspension was imposed due to analytical issues self-reported to WADA by the laboratory.
The provisional suspension, which prohibits the Paris Laboratory from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples. The suspension will remain in place pending disciplinary proceedings being carried out by an independent Disciplinary Committee.

September 28

Russia completes Chemical Weapons Destruction
Russia completely destroyed its chemical military weapons, in the southwest of Russia.
Mikhail Babich, Chairman of the State Commission on Chemical Disarmament, stated that the chemical weapons elimination process was completed.
All those chemical weapons could destroy all life on earth several times.
This has been done in a move to make the modern world more balanced and secure.
Russia was among the first to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
The CWC came to act in 1997, under the supervision of the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Over 96 % of all chemical weapons declared by the convention has been destroyed under OPCW verification.

India launches Access India Programme (AIP) to attract UK investments
India launched the Access India Programme (AIP) to attract investments from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, in London.
Access India Programme (AIP) was launched by the Indian High Commission in the UK along with knowledge partner UK India Business Council (UKIBC), at India House in London.
This will work as a market entry support system for smaller companies with a potential to expand into the Indian market.
This has been launched to promote the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The AIP will conduct six annual workshops and mentoring programmes.
A group of about 50 companies will be initially identified by the end of 2017.

September 29

Palestine joins Interpol as full member
The International Police Organization has recognized Palestine as a full member state, dealing a significant diplomatic blow to Israel, which has strenuously lobbied against Palestinian admission at Interpol’s general assembly in Beijing.
In a secret vote of representatives of the international police organization’s members in China, Palestinian membership was approved by 75 to 24 votes, with 34 abstentions – exceeding the two-thirds requirement of yes to no votes.
As per Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki this victory was made possible because of the principled position of the majority of Interpol members.
Israel had contended that Palestine is not a state and that it is ineligible for Interpol membership.
Under interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals, a Palestinian Authority was granted limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

September 30

China operationalises its first radar-evading stealth fighter J-20
China has announced commissioning the radar-evading J-20 fighter jets into military service, giving its air force an edge in the region.
The J-20 is China’s fourth-generation medium and long- range fighter jet. It made its maiden flight in 2011 and was first shown to the public at the 11th Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, in November 2016.
Its introduction could add a new dimension in the India- China air force balance. Pakistan has already expressed its interest in acquiring it. The US air force operates the F-22 Raptor which is the fifth generation stealth air superiority fighter.



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