international - 2018 FEBRUARY

February 1

Sushma Swaraj leaves for Nepal on two-day visit
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived on a two-day goodwill visit during which she would hold talks with Nepal’s top leadership.
The high-level visit from India is being considered significant in the political spectrum.
Ms. Swaraj will be the first senior Indian minister to visit Nepal after the conclusion of elections to local bodies, provincial assemblies and federal Parliament.

EU announces funding package of 42.5 million euros to help build Palestinian state
The European Union (EU) has announced a new funding package of 42.5 million Euros to help the Palestinians build their new state.
The announcement came yesterday as Brussels urged the US to not go it alone in an effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, any framework for negotiations must be multilateral and must involve all players, all partners that are essential to this process.

February 2

Bhutan becomes second country to open consulate in Guwahati
Bhutan became the second country after Bangladesh to open a consulate in Guwahati.
Bhutan’s diplomatic relationship with Assam precedes that with India, and history refers to cordial relationship between the kings of Bhutan and medieval Assam. It is thus apt for us to set up our second consulate in Guwahati.
Bangladesh had in May last year established a consular office headed by an assistant high commissioner, underlining the city’s growing reputation as a trade and connectivity hub of a region of 45.6 million people.
Bhutan has had a consulate in Kolkata for years besides a High Commission in New Delhi.

February 3

New Manchester-India Partnership set up in UK to expand trade opportunities
A new Manchester-India Partnership (MIP) aimed at connecting Indian companies with the northern regions of England has been set up to further trade, investment, science and innovation ties between India and Britain.
The public-private initiative between India and Manchester, a core city of what has been termed as the Northern Powerhouse in Britain, is backed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and will have permanent full-time teams based in Manchester, Delhi and Bangalore.
Jim O'Neill, the economist who coined the phrase BRICS in reference to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as the emerging economies of the world, officially launched the partnership at an event hosted by the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group on the terrace of the Houses of Parliament.

First defence industrial corridor between Chennai, Bengaluru
The first of the two defence industrial production corridors, as announced in the Union Budget, will link Chennai and Bengaluru.
The first corridor will link Chennai and Bengaluru and will pass through Coimbatore and several other industrial clusters. Announcement for the second corridor will be made soon.
The defence budget was increased by 7.81 per cent to Rs 2.95 lakh crore against last year’s Rs 2.74 lakh crore, belying expectations of a significant hike when the armed forces are facing growing challenges on the borders with Pakistan and China.
All the requests of the defence ministry were heeded by the finance minister, adding he had to take care of other priorities as well. It was a “reasoned out” defence budget.

February 4

Cyprus president re-elected with eyes on new peace push
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades won re-election for a second term, seeing off a leftist challenger with vows to restart talks to unify the island and cement an economic recovery.
The official final result after a second round run-off put the conservative incumbent on 55.99 per cent of the vote in the Greek-majority European Union member, ahead of Communist-backed Stavros Malas on 44 per cent.
Apathy has been on the rise after a lacklustre campaign - especially among young voters - and the final official turnout stood at 73 per cent.
At one polling station in Nicosia early in the day the focus was firmly on reunification efforts and the economy.

February 5

N. Korean art troupe to perform at Olympics under sanctions exemption: S. Korea
A North Korean art troupe will likely travel by ship to stage a performance in South Korea for Winter Olympics under an exemption from bilateral sanctions.
The North Korea has proposed that the delegation use the Mangyongbong 92, a ferry that chiefly operates between North Korea and Russia, for transportation and lodging.
In May 2010, South Korea banned all North Korean ships from entering its ports and cut off most inter-Korean exchanges, including tourism, trade and aid, in response to a torpedo attack by the North Korea on a navy ship that killed 46 sailors.

February 6

Top Maldivian judges arrested after emergency declaration
The Maldivian police arrested the country's Chief Justice and another judge after the government of President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were arrested from the Supreme Court.
The Army scaled the court building and held staff and judges under military supervision. The judges were later taken to a detention facility outside the capital, Male.
Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed was also arrested and his residence was raided for the second time.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the opposition that rejects the state of emergency, was also arrested.

India-UAE likely to ink 12 pacts during Modi’s visit
As many as 12 agreements will be signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE later this week as India and the oil-rich Gulf nation look to intensify economic cooperation. The agreements will include areas like finance and skills development.
Modi will start his visit to three West Asian countries - Palestine, the UAE and Oman - with focus on cooperation in key areas of defence, security and counter- terrorism. PM Modi is visiting the UAE on.
The Prime Minister will participate in the 6th World Government Summit in Dubai on February 10-11 in which India is a partner country.
This will be PM Modi’s second visit to the UAE. He first visited the country in August 2015. According to the Ambassador, these visits are important for enhancing and strengthening the bilateral relations.

February 7

Bangladesh elects Hamid as president for second consecutive term
Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid was re-elected uncontested for another five-year term, becoming the only leader who will be serving for a second consecutive term.
The Awami League last week nominated 74-year-old Hamid to contest the presidential election saying the party's parliamentary party board unanimously nominated him.
The (Awami League parliamentary) Board nominated him for the presidency taking into account the current political situation, his long checkered political career and commitment to the country.
With the Awami League having an absolute majority in parliament, it was certain that Hamid will get re-elected.

HAL develops first Hawk-i flight
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has developed the first flight of Hawk-i with indigenous Real Time Operating System (RTOS).
Hawk-i is the first indigenous RTOS developed in India from scratch and certified by Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).
The RTOS is a key technology for concurrent execution of multiple applications and optimal use of hardware resources which is of paramount importance for increased complexity of modern avionics software.
Avionics systems in India are currently developed using commercial RTOS procured from foreign suppliers.

February 8

Bermuda becomes first nation to ban same-sex marriage
Bermuda has become the first country in the world to legalize and then repeal same-sex marriage.
The British island territory has swapped marriage for domestic partnership for LGBT couples in a move much criticized as an attack on equal rights.
The governor approved the bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry, despite a Supreme Court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage.
Gov. John Rankin was seeking to balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.

Prince Charles backs new education bond for India
Britain’s Prince Charles, who is set to arrive in New Delhi as part of his ongoing Asian tour, has given his backing to a new development bond for India to provide education to marginalized children in the country.
The 10-million-dollar Education Development Impact Bond (DIB) has been created by the British Asian Trust, founded by the Prince of Wales to fight poverty in South Asia, and is designed to improve learning outcomes for thousands of marginalised children in India.
The bond is intended as an innovative and sustainable social impact investment tool which will be tied in with performance and outcomes of educational initiatives, starting in India and then across the trust’s other regions of operation.
The Education Development Impact Bond has been developed by the trust alongside UBS Optimus Foundation with the aim of transforming the future of education in India.

February 9

US government shuts down for 2nd time in three weeks
The US government slid into its second shutdown in three weeks after a senator in President Donald Trump's own Republican Party blocked a vote on a bipartisan budget deal before a midnight deadline.
The upper chamber of Congress closed up shop late and reopened in the dark of night for a new session, launching a new effort to pass a bill to extend federal funding for six more weeks.
The Senate was expected to hold a vote on the measure at 1:00 am and, if it passes, send it to the House of Representatives and then on to Trump, who could quickly sign it and nip the shutdown in the bud.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to Trump's desk "without delay''.

Saudi Arabia temporarily bans poultry imports from India over bird flu
Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned imports of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India after a form of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry was found.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), citing a report from the India's agriculture ministry, that India had reported an outbreak of a highly contagious bird flu virus near Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka.
The H5N8 virus was detected on December 26 among birds in the village of Dasarahalli, killing nine out of 951 birds. The others were culled. No details were given on the type of birds involved.

February 10

China says new J-20 stealth fighter put into combat service
China has put into combat service its new generation J-20 stealth fighter, a warplane it hopes will narrow the military gap with the United States.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping modernisation of the country's armed forces, the largest in the world, including anti-satellite missiles and advanced submarines, seeking to project power far from its shores.
The J-20 will further raise the air force's combat abilities and help the air force better carry out its "sacred mission" to defend the country's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
State media early last year that the aircraft had entered service. The aircraft was shown in public for the first time in late 2016 at the Zhuhai airshow and was first glimpsed by Chinese planespotters in 2010.