international - 2017 APRIL

April 1

Donald Trump to study ''trade abuse'' to check deficits.
President Donald Trump will order a comprehensive study to identify every form of ''trade abuse'' that contributes to US deficits with foreign countries.
Trump also will take steps to toughen enforcement of trade penalties just a day after announcing the date for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, leader of the country Trump has blamed most frequently for trade deficits and job losses.
The trade study, to be completed within 90 days, will examine deficits ''country by country and product by product'' to assess the extent they are caused by ''cheating or inappropriate behavior'', which also will cover currency misalignments and "constraints" imposed by the World Trade Organization, will help guide Trump’s trade policies.

European Union offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough transition terms.
The European Union offered Britain talks this year on a future free trade pact but made clear in negotiating guidelines issued that London must first agree to EU demands on the terms of Brexit.
Those include paying tens of billions of euros and giving residence rights to some 3 million EU citizens in Britain, the proposed negotiating objectives distributed by EU summit chair Donald Tusk to Britain's 27 EU partners showed.
The document, seen by Reuters, also sets tough conditions for any transition period, insisting Britain must accept many EU rules after any such partial withdrawal. It also spelled out EU resistance to Britain scrapping swathes of tax, environmental and labour laws if it wants to have an eventual free trade pact.

April 2

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina calls for united fight against terrorism.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a united fight against terrorism terming it a new global vice. Speaking at the inauguration of the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Dhaka.
Militancy and Terrorism costs lives and impedes peace and development, Emphasizing that militancy is not a problem of any one particular country.
Hasina also emphasized the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Emphasizing that over 800 million people across the world suffer from malnutrition and a large number of children in developing countries suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition.

Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency.
A new Japanese law that defines digital currencies as a legal payment method goes into effect on April 1, 2017.
That law applies the country's know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, requires exchanges to meet capital and cybersecurity requirements, and will subject those exchanges to annual audits.
Virtual currencies are enjoying growing population in Japan, where domestic circulation of bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and others amounted to 185 billion yen ($1.67 billion) in the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year.

April 3

South Korea, Japan, US hold drill against North Korea submarines missile threats.
South Korea, Japan and the United States are holding a three-day joint naval exercise aimed at ensuring effective response to the North Korea's submarine threats, including the submarine-launched ballistic missiles and to demonstrate the three countries' strong determination.
The drills, involving more than 800 troops, kicked off in South Korea's southern coast near Japan.
The exercise is being held in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's warning that Washington is prepared to act unilaterally to deal with North Korea's nuclear program if China proves unwilling to help.

Bahrain approves military trials for civilians.
Bahrain's king has approved a law passed by parliament that allows for military courts to try civilians amid a major crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa approved the constitutional amendment
The island's elected 40-member Consultative Council and its appointed 40-seat Council of Representatives, the two houses of Bahrain’s parliament, earlier passed the amendment.
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.

April 4

Trump signs resolution scrapping internet privacy rules.
US President Donald Trump signed a resolution reversing a Barack Obama-era rule that restricted internet providers from sharing users' browsing history without their permission.
The rule also required internet providers to secure the users' data from the hackers and notify users of any data breach.
The Republicans argued the rules were confusing to consumers and unfair to internet providers.

Defence pact formalized between Canada, Ukraine.
Canada and Ukraine have formalised a defense pact that would see Canada continue to offer military training and share combat expertise.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak in Ottawa to sign the defence co-operation agreement.
Canada extended its mission providing weapons, tactical and survival training to Ukrainian troops through March 2019. The joint military training mission with Britain and the United States started in 2015 in response to a more assertive Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine the year before.

New Malaysian visas allow Indians to travel to ASEAN nations.
Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak announced the launch of multiple-entry e-visas, allowing Indians to fly to Malaysia and visit South Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia using just one visa.
Malaysia will serve as the gateway to ASEAN for Indians, Malaysia also decided to not charge visa fees and approve online applications within 48 hours for Indians.

April 5

China is set to overtake US economy in 2050.
According to the latest World Bank figures, the economy of the United States is the largest in the world. At $18 trillion, it represents a quarter share of the global economy (24.3 per cent).
China follows, with $11 trillion, or 14.8 per cent of the world economy. Japan is in third place with an economy of $4.4 trillion, which represents almost 6 per cent of the world economy.
India is in seventh place with $2 trillion. Although China trails the US by $7 trillion, it's catching up. China’s economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2016, compared to America's 1.6 per cent, according to the IMF.
However, the experts predict the US may not dominate for much longer. A study by PricewaterhouseCooper gives a glimpse of how the world economy might look in 2050.

India & United Kingdom to set up 240 million pound fund for green energy.
India and the United Kingdom (UK) have decided to set up a 240 million Pound fund to finance clean energy projects.
India had in 2015 set up the Rs. 40,000 crore National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) to finance greenfield as well as brownfield projects.
The Green Growth Equity Fund will be a sub-fund of NIIF. The fund will focus initial investments in India's rapidly growing energy and renewables market.

April 6

India-UAE cultural celebrations festival launched at Abu Dhabi.
The India and UAE cultural celebrations festival has been launched in Abu Dhabi with a tribute video featuring the Mahatma Gandhi and late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The video took the audience through a journey of shared values, pluralism, and multiculturalism between the two nations.
India-UAE Cultural Celebrations is a cultural partnership for a positive future is a cultural engagement programme between India and the United Arab Emirates.
The programme supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, UAE and the Indian Business and Professional Group.

Ecuador presidential election won by Leftist Moreno.
Ecuadorean leftist Lenin Moreno won presidential election after a tight contest with his right-wing opponent.
According to the council, Moreno pocketed 51.16 per cent of valid votes versus 48.84 per cent for conservative challenger Guillermo Lasso, with 99.65 per cent of votes counted.
The results are "irreversible'', electoral council president Juan Pablo Pozo, adding there was no indication of fraud.

April 7

Constitution for election signed by Thai king.
Thailand's king has signed a new constitution, paving the way for an election that would bring the country back to democratic rule.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn has signed the document in a ceremony at Bangkok. An original draft of the constitution, viewed as the basis for returning to democracy, was approved in a referendum last August.
But the King has asked in January that changes be made to give him more power on appointing a regent in the event he isn't in the country.

April 8

Uruguay to Become First Country to Fully Legalize Marijuana.
Uruguay is set to become the first country to allow recreational marijuana to be sold in pharmacies in July. The country is trying for nearly four years to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
The country has stockpiled 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of marijuana so far. Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents who must be 18 or older will be allowed to purchase marijuana from a pharmacy.
People must enroll in a national registry of marijuana users before purchase. They will be limited to purchasing 40 grams (1.41 oz) per month and 10 grams per week. When pharmacies first start selling marijuana, users can only purchase it in 5­gram containers at $1.30 (1.22 euros) per gram.
Non Resident Uruguayans or Foreigners will not be allowed to purchase marijuana from pharmacies in Uruguay.

United States, China agree to pursue 100 day plan for reducing trade deficit.
US President Donald Trump and President of the People's Republic of China & Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping have agreed to pursue a '100 day plan' aimed at reducing the US trade deficit with China.
The presidents agreed to the plan to correct the trade imbalance. It includes the boosting of US exports to China.
It is designed to cover 4 fields. They include law enforcement and cyber security, as well as the economy.

April 9

Iranian President calls for formation of international fact-finding committee to investigate chemical weapons attack.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the formation of an international fact-finding committee to investigate the chemical weapons attack in the northern Syrian town of Idlib that killed at least eighty-seven people.
During a speech in Tehran, Mr Rouhani warned that US missile strikes in response risked escalating extremism and instability in the region.
Tehran is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main regional ally and has provided military and economic support for his fight against rebel groups and Islamic State terrorists.

April 10

First United Kingdom rail freight service to China to depart.
The first rail freight service from United Kingdom to China departed from Essex. Earlier the first freight train in the opposite direction, from China to UK had arrived in London in January 2017.
The train service was launched as part of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.
The 30 containers train carrying British goods including pharmaceuticals will travel over 7,500 miles to reach Yiwu (China), a famed wholesale market town in the eastern province of Zhejiang in 17 days.
The train during the journey will pass through seven countries France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan before reaching final destination in China.

Egypt President declares 3 month state of emergency following church bombings.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a 3 month state of emergency in Egypt following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities.
Sisi announced the ''state of emergency for three months'' in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.
The attacks followed a Cairo church bombing in December and came weeks ahead of a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis intended to show support for the country's Christian minority.

Indian, Australian PMs launch world's most advanced nanobiotechnology research centre in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inaugurated the world's most advanced nanobiotechnology research centre, a joint venture between The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Deakin University, Australia.
The cooperation in the field of education and research is the most important field of engagement between India and Australia. TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre is a classic example of the kind of cutting edge research being done by the two countries.
The $100 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund is for collaborative research in areas such as nanotechnology, agriculture, food security, smart cities, etc.

April 11

100 years of Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram Celebrated in London.
The centenary of Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram was celebrated in London with the screening of a documentary to re-tell Gandhi's story.
The documentary 'Sabarmati Ashram- The Home of Gandhi's Experiments with Truth was screened at the Nehru Centre.
The film showed how Gandhi set up the ashram in 1917 on a wasteland on the banks of Sabarmati River and some pro-British newspapers ridiculed his idea of Salt March. The film also sheds light on Gandhi's life in the Ashram.

Nepal Government presents new Constitution amendment bill to address concerns of Madhesi parties.
In a bid to take agitating Madhesi parties on board before May 14 local elections Nepal government has presented a new constitution amendment bill.
The bill was registered at the parliament secretariat by the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry.
The bill aims to address some of the key demands raised by United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).
Madhesi leaders are demanding more representation and re-demarcation of provincial boundaries ahead of local polls.

April 12

Saudi Arabia raises $9 billion in first global islamic bond issue.
Saudi Arabia raised $9 billion in its first global Islamic bond issue, the government announced, a move analysts say could ease pressure on foreign reserves.
The sale of Islamic bonds, known as sukuks, comes after the kingdom in October turned to the conventional global debt market for the first time, raising $17.5 billion in a bond issue.
Saudi Arabia has also sold domestic bonds and drawn on its accumulated reserves, all in an effort to reform the economy and address budget deficits caused by a collapse in oil revenues since 2014.

April 13

Bipartisan delegation to be headed by US House Speaker Ryan.
US House Speaker Paul Ryan will head a bipartisan delegation to Europe to meet with leaders of NATO allies including Estonia, amid Russia's rising tensions with the West.
The delegation will travel to Britain, Norway, Poland and Estonia to "meet with government officials and military leaders to review and discuss evolving security threats facing Europe as well as opportunities for greater economic cooperation''.
The speaker, the most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives and an ally of President Donald Trump, will be joined by House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry and four other Republicans, along with two House Democrats.

Russia vetoes UN draft resolution on Syria gas attack probe.
Russia has vetoed a UN resolution condemning the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and urging a speedy investigation.
The resolution, which aimed to bolster support for international inquiries into a deadly toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, was being pushed by the US, Britain and France.
While 10 nations voted in favour, Russia and Bolivia vetoed the resolution, while China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstained. It marks the eighth time Russia has vetoed a vote on a Syria resolution.

April 14

United States drops biggest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan: Pentagon.
United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants.
It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.
Also known as the "mother of all bombs," the GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war.

India, Russia strategic partnership important for international security, stability: Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has that further strengthening of strategic partnership between Russia and India was important for international security and meets the fundamental interests of people of the two countries.
The two countries maintain close positions on key global and regional affairs and efficiently coordinate their efforts at multinational organisations, such as the UN and BRICS.
The Russian President added that by acting together, the two nations make a weighty contribution to the war on terrorism, extremism, trans-border crime and other topical challenges.

Nepal and China to conduct Sagarmatha Friendship - 2017.
Nepal and China is all set to hold their first ever joint military exercise named 'Sagarmatha Friendship - 2017' from April 17 to April 26.
The 10 day long joint exercise will focus on combating terror and disaster management. Although, Nepal conducts joint exercises with other countries like India and United States, this is the first time it is holding a joint exercise with China.
The joint exercise comes at the backdrop of Nepal's proposal of such exercise having focus on disaster management during Chinese Defence Minister, General Chang Wanquan's official visit to Nepal on March. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mt Everest, which stands in between both the countries.
Fully-airconditioned Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express inaugurated.
The Railways Minister of Bangladesh Mazibul Hoque and Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla has inaugurated a fully-airconditioned Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express train in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A total of 456 passengers will now be able to travel in the comfort of air-conditioned coaches, with four of them belonging to the first-class.
The frequency of this express train had also been increased from three to four times a week from 11th  November last year.