World in Focus (May-June 2014)

National & International News & MCQs

National

May 16: Saira Afzal Tarar, the Minister of State for National Health Services, told the Senate that the provinces shared fabricated figures of incomplete polio campaigns with the federal government, ultimately leading to travel restriction on Pakistanis.

May 16:
The government decided to extend Rs 2 billion subsidy package for supply of essential kitchen items at cheaper rates to people during Ramazan.

May 16:
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) registered an FIR against former chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Tariq Malik on the charge of concealing the fact that he also held Canadian citizenship at the time of obtaining his passports.

May 16:
Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court took oath as Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan.

May 17:
Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) set aside the Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) issued by the PML-N government which brought Najam Sethi in the PCB as chairman.

May 17:
The Pakistan Post issued a stamp highlighting Forman Christian College’s sesquicentennial (150-year) celebrations.

The stamp depicts Sinclair Hall, which was constructed to mark the centenary of FCC and named after a devoted Principal Dr E.J Sinclair, who served FCC for over 50 years as a faculty member and from 1962-1968 as principal. The building was designed by architect Nasreddin Murat Khan, who also designed the Minar-i-Pakistan. The depiction is by water colour artist Anjum Zaheer.

May 19:
A Karachi court dismissed an illicit weapon case against Joel Cox Eugene, an agent of US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

May 20:
Private members of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) announced the suspension of three licences, Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Tez, of Geo network.

However, the management of the authority said that the meeting itself was illegal and any decisions taken by it were null and void.

May 20:
The Lahore High Court directed its registrar to serve notices on over two dozen politicians, including present and former rulers, their family members, a property tycoon and a rights activist through proclamation in newspaper for submitting replies to a petition seeking a court order for them to bring their foreign assets back to Pakistan.

May 20:
The Supreme Court restored the licence of former law minister Dr Babar Awan after suspension of two years.

May 21:
At least 73 suspected local and foreign militants were killed in a series of pre-dawn air strikes on hideouts and bases in North Waziristan.

May 21:
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) endorsed its earlier ruling that girls as young as nine years old were eligible to be married, ‘if the signs of puberty are visible’.

The CII meeting, chaired by Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), also said that most of the clauses of the existing Muslim Marriage Law, 1961, were un-Islamic.

May 21:
The number of broadband users in the country has reached 3.35 million, an increase of around 10 per cent from the previously reported figure of 3.02m.

According to latest figures issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, PTCL is still leading the market as it added 317,481 subscribers in the last three months.

Main contributors remained the EvDO technology, which acquired 256,543 new subscribers or 80pc of new broadband customers.

May 21:
Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme for students belonging to underdeveloped areas was launched.

May 21:
The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment (PCJA) unanimously confirmed the nomination of Judicial Commission of Pakistan for appointment of Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, former judge Supreme Court (SC) as chief justice of Federal Shariat Court (FSC).

May 22:
Pakistan and China signed a $1.6 billion agreement for a metro train project in Punjab, the first of its kind in the country.
Financed by China, the Orange Line Metro Train Project will be completed within three years.

May 22:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif handed out licences for next generation 3G and 4G services to the four cellular companies that had bid on them.

May 22:
The Sindh government appointed Ghulam Qadir Thebo Karachi police chief, replacing Shahid Hayat Khan.

May 23:
Frustrated at not having their complaints heeded, a large contingent of Sikhs descended upon Parliament House to protest the desecration of their holy book in Sindh.

May 23:
The Bahria Town was allowed to carry out construction on Opal 225, a skyscraper having residential and commercial facilities in the heart of the Karachi’s business district.

May 23:
Under an agreement signed, the Subscriber Identity Modules (Sims) of mobile phones would be activated only after biometric verification of customers.

May 24:
A large section of civil servants is angry at the PML-N government for allegedly favouring the powerful Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) at the cost of the other 10 occupational groups.

Formerly known as the District Management Group (DMG), PAS got a major share of the promotions of bureaucrats under a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) issued by the government on Feb 10, 2014.

The SRO has allocated 65 per cent of the Secretariat Group promotions in BPS-21 and 22 (the two highest grades for civil servants) for officers of the DMG/PAS.

May 24:
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah granted the status of division to Shaheed Benazirabad district.

May 24:
Pakistan and China began their joint air exercises, codenamed ‘Shaheen-III’ at an operational base in Pakistan.

May 26:
Against the backdrop of an attack on the life of senior journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir, Geo TV network and Jang media group tendered apology to the armed forces and Inter Services Intelligence for hurling allegations on ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam.

May 27:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met India’s first far right prime minister, Narendra Modi.

May 27:
Farzana, 25, of Nankana Sahib was beaten to death with bricks by her family near the Lahore High Court allegedly for marrying a man of her choice.

May 28:
The Accountability Court, Islamabad, acquitted former president Asif Ali Zardari in the polo ground reference but rejected his acquittal plea in SGS and Cotecna references.

May 28:
The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan split into two factions after a major group based in South Waziristan quit the TTP.

May 29:
An anti-corruption court issued arrest warrants of former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, former commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and others in a multi-billion trade subsidy scam.

May 29:
The National Economic Council (NEC) approved a Rs36bn initiative for strengthening national unity and the federation by removing disparities in development between the developed and under-developed parts of the country.

Under the initiative, Rs15 billion will be invested in Balochistan, Rs8bn in Sindh, Rs4bn each in KP and Fata, Rs3bn in Azad Kashmir and Rs2bn in Gilgit-Baltistan.

May 29:
National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) unveiled a new policy to deal with the registration of parentless or abandoned children.
Under the new policy, the head of an orphanage where such a child lives is eligible to become that child’s legal guardian by providing an affidavit.

May 29:
The National Economic Council (NEC) approved an ambitious 10-year plan called Vision 2025, envisaging Pakistan to be among top 25 world economies, universal primary education with 100 per cent enrolment, an increase in annual exports by six times to $150 billion and double power generation to 45,000MW by 2025.

May 29:
A decision made by the cabinet sub-committee during the last PPP government regularising the services of contractual employees was declared as null and void by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

May 29:
The second phase of local bodies’ elections was completed in Balochistan with voting held for 1,082 seats reserved for Muslim women and 73 for minorities.

May 29:
Four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Shandong Ruyi group and different industrial groups of Punjab at the CM House.

May 29:
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the PP-107 by-poll.

May 29:
The Global Burden of Disease Study published in The Lancet medical journal placed Pakistan as the ninth most obese country in the world.

A staggering 671 million people now fall within the obese category, said the study ’78 million of them in the United States. China and India trailed 2nd and 3rd in the  top 10 obese countries with 46 million and 30 million people respectively,  followed by Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia.

May 30:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated two 660-megawatt coal-fired power projects ‘the first of its kind in Punjab ‘having a capacity of 1,320MW in Qadirabad, Sahiwal. The project will be completed by 2016.

May 31: Rana Jamil Hasan alias Gudo Khan, an MPA of the PML-N, was kidnapped near Sheikhupura on the motorway.

June 01:
The relaxation extended to Pakistan by the World Health Organization (WHO) expired.

From June 1, all Pakistanis travelling abroad will be required to present a polio vaccination certificate at the time of departure.

June 02: President Mamnoon Hussain opened the new parliamentary year with his address to the joint session of the parliament.

June 02: Launching the Pakistan Economic Survey for 2013-14, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar played down the government’s missed targets, saying that it had ‘achieved 90 per cent’ of the targets it set for itself.

June 02: The Prime Minister’s Adviser on Water and Power announced that the head of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and one of the company’s directors have been sacked and FIRs registered against them. The announcement comes as an inquiry into allegations of illegal diversion of electricity incriminated the two men.

June 02: Russia lifted an embargo on sales of weapons and military hardware to Pakistan.

June 03: The PML-N government unveiled its second budget which provided harsh cuts as well as populist measures.

June 03: Altaf Hussain, the London-based chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was arrested by the British police on suspicion of money laundering.
He was arrested in northwest London where he has been living in self-imposed exile since 1992.

June 03: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif gave approval to the project of setting up a cancer hospital and research centre in Lahore.

June 04: Two army officers and three civilians were killed at a railway crossing at the junction of Fateh Jang and Rawalpindi when a suicide bomber hit a vehicle carrying security personnel.

June 04: The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant’s unit-I was connected to the national grid. The plant was currently producing 244MW but would start generating 325MW by June 7.

June 04: The Japanese government formally agreed to grant a concessional loan of Rs5 billion to Pakistan for supporting the energy sector reforms.

June 05: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the National Health Insurance Scheme for the poorest segment of the nation.

June 05: The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) declared that murder of women or girls in the name of ‘honour’ is un-Islamic.

June 05: Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani administered the oath of office to Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan as chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC).

June 05: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the Secretariat Police Station to register a murder case against former CIA station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks and former CIA General Counsel John A. Rizzo in the matter pertaining to Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), after his brother and a son died in a drone strike in 2009.

June 05: Abdul Hakeem Baloch was made minister of state for communications. Earlier, he was serving as minister of state for railways.

June 05: The government appointed Pervez Rathor as acting chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

June 06: A major oil reserve was discovered near Jhelum, opening up a new area for exploitation of hydrocarbon potential.
With an estimated production of 5,500 barrels per day, the Ghauri X-1 oil well is expected to be the country’s largest oil-producing well.

With the Petroleum Ministry`s consent, the Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) which operates the Ghauri Joint Venture (GJV), formally announced that it had made `a significant oil discovery` in the Ghauri X-1 oil well, located in the Dhemak village of district Jhelum.

June 06: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) suspended the licence of Geo News for 15 days and fined it Rs10 million.

June 06: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly approved big increase in salaries and emoluments of its members, including the speaker and deputy speaker, and ministers and made it compulsory for the government to enhance them in future at the rate of the increase in the salaries and emoluments of BPS-20 employees.

June 06: For the first time during the budget session, the National Assembly unanimously passed three bills including the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2014.
Other two bills include the Legal Practitioners and Bar Council (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Service Tribunals (Amendment) Bill 2014.

June 07: London police filed no charges against Muttahida chief Altaf Hussain, but told him to appear before investigators again next month.

Mr Hussain, who was arrested by the British authorities on suspicions of money laundering on June 3, was released from police custody on bail after a nine-hour-long interrogation.

June 07: After the successful endeavours of the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) grand tribal Jirga, the Taliban agreed to extend the peace treaty with the government.

June 08: Heavily armed militants attacked the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, killing at least 22 people.

June 08: Pakistan’s first animated TV series, Burka Avenger, was awarded the International Gender Equity Prize, 2014.

June 08: Nearly two dozen people were killed and many more injured in a suicide attack on a hotel hosting Shia pilgrims in Taftan, a district on the border with Iran.

June 09: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) revamped its prosecution system, believing it will help increase the conviction rate in corruption cases, expectedly by 10 per cent during the current year.

June 09: A heavy exchange of fire took place between Pakistani and Iranian border forces along Mashkel area of Washuk district.

June 10: With the authorities struggling to cope with security challenges in the aftermath of attack on Karachi airport’s Terminal One, suspected militants launched another attack on an Airport Security Force’s facility, forcing the Civil Aviation Authority to suspend flight operations at the country’s busiest airport.

June 10: Pakistan and Nigeria agreed to cooperate in the fields of counter-terrorism and defence, besides giving impetus to enhancement of trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, infrastructure, investment and human resource development.
The two countries also agreed to intensify cooperation at international forums and efforts for reforms in the UN Security Council.

June 10: The Taliban Shura, headed by Commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, asked foreign militants and supporters of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to either live peacefully or leave North Waziristan within 15 days.

June 10: The visit of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen to Pakistan was cancelled at the eleventh hour for unknown reasons.

June 10: Punjab, through the promulgation of an ordinance ‘The Punjab Strategic Coordination Ordinance, 2014’ created a provincial ‘Security Council’ to ensure flawless coordination with the central government and the federal and military intelligence agencies for countering terrorism.

June 10: The World Bank unanimously approved the Dasu hydroelectric power project. The US also voted in favour. The US administration had earlier warned Pakistan that due to congressional constraint, they would prefer to abstain, although they support the plan.

June 10: An agreement was signed between the Punjab government and a prominent Chinese company, Sino Hydro, for the rehabilitation and up-gradation of Sulemanki Barrage and Pakpattan Canal. Under the agreement, the Chinese company will work on the project of rehabilitation and up-gradation of Sulemanki Barrage, reconstruction of its bridge, Pakpattan Canal, Khadar Branch and PI Link.

June 11: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wrote a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi vowing to work with him for the benefit of both nations.

June 11: The appointment of Shaharyar Khan Mahar, a Pakistan Muslim League Functional lawmaker, as the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly was notified.

June 11: The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an organisation of militants mostly from the central Asian Uzbek state, claimed that its suicide bombers carried out attack on the Karachi airport.

June 11: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) restrained talk show host Mubasher Lucman from appearing on any channel.

June 11: A court sentenced two brothers to 11 years in jail for eating a dead baby in a case that has shocked the country, a year after they were freed over a similar offence.

June 11: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced its decision not to disclose the names of fake degree holding politicians in future.

June 11: To provide military assistance to Pakistan in the next fiscal year, the US administration will now have to certify to Congress that Islamabad is conducting military operations in North Waziristan. Under the Carl Levin National Defence Authorisation Act for fiscal year 2015, the US administration will also have to submit, twice a year, a report on security cooperation with Pakistan.

One provision restricts the US Secretary of Defence from waiving the certification requirements for releasing $300 million of the $900 million Coalition Support Fund.

June 11: The US carried out the first drone strike in Pakistan this year, killing at least six militants in North Waziristan.

June 12: The Sindh High Court struck down the federal government’s order of preventing retired General Pervez Musharraf from leaving the country, but the former military ruler will have to wait for two weeks to find out if he could actually travel abroad.

June 12: Perhaps for the first time in the country’s parliamentary history, treasury members boycotted the budget debate in Senate, over alleged misuse of rules by the deputy chairman.

June 12: The Punjab Parliamentary Youth Caucus was formed comprising 84 MPAs from different parliamentary groups with upper age limit of 45 years.

June 12: PNS Dehshat, built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Ltd (KS&EW), was inducted into Pakistan Navy’s fleet.

June 12: Maulana Samiul Haq was re-elected unopposed as Ameer of his own faction of JUI.

June 14: The federal government challenged a Sindh High Court order to remove former president retired General Pervez Musharraf’s name from the exit control list (ECL).

June 14: Handery Masih, a member of the Balochistan Assembly, was shot dead allegedly by his security guard.

June 14: Several suspected militants were killed in an offensive by PAF jets in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region in the small hours.

June 15: Pakistan Army launched a comprehensive operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ against local and foreign militants in North Waziristan. Azb was the name of the sword of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Sports

May 17: Pakistan won the J.R. Jayewardene Trophy beating Sri Lanka in the 53rd National Amateur Golf Championship at the Royal Palm Golf Club.

May 17: Punjab boys and girls came out victorious in the Interprovincial Youth Athletics Championships, which concluded in Karachi.

May 19: Puri Real Estate won the All Pakistan Bridge Tournament concluded at Islamabad Club.

May 22: Sindh girls won the PSB Inter-Provincial Youth Under-16 Girls Taekwondo Championship. Punjab girls finished runners-up.

May 22: Fatima Khan of Punjab won the Inter-Provincial Girls Under-16 Table Tennis title by defeating Maria Khan.

May 25: Mohammad Munir successfully defended his President Gold Medal Golf title while Tariq Mehmood rose to new heights winning the amateur net gold.

May 26: Punjab secured 60 points to lift the All-Pakistan Power lifting Championships title in Rawalpindi. Police ended as runners-up with 51 points followed by Islamabad who accumulated 34 points.
Wapda’s Nooh Butt was declared the best power lifter.

June 02: Pakistan women football team midfielder Hajra Khan signed a contract with the Maldives club Sunrise Hotels and Resorts FC.

June 07: The Pakistan Body Building Federation (PBBF) elected its new officials under the supervision of Pakistan Olympic Association. The office bearers elected include President Naveed Akram Cheema, SVP President Muhammad Yahya Butt (Mr. Asia), Secretary Muhammad Naeem Akhtar and Treasurer Syed Saeed Jamil.

June 07: The Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) unanimously elected Mian Iftikhar Hussain as its president.

June 09: Ghazanfar Mahmood clinched the 24th Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Open Golf Championship title at the Piffers Golf Course.
The veterans’ amateurs first net title was won by retired Col Mushtaq while the senior amateurs gross was claimed by Col Arif and first net by Col Shahid.

June 09: Balochistan with seven gold medals, three silver aggregated 165 points to win the National Junior Karate Championship in Rawalpindi.

Obituaries

May 16: Zille Huma, noted singer and daughter of melody queen Noor Jehan, passed away. She was 69.

May 20: Former MNA and PPP leader Mian Mohsin Ali Qureshi died.

June 01: Leading advertising expert and columnist Masood Hasan died. He was 72.

June 03: Senior journalist, researcher, intellectual and educationist Malik Munir Ahmad Bhutta died. He was 75.

June 10: Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a veteran politician and head of Balochistan’s Marri clan, died after a protracted illness. He was 86.

June 12: Prof Kamaluddin Ahmed, one of the top ranking Pakistani physicists and distinguished scientists of National Centre for Physics (NCP) passed away.

Transfers & Postings

May 20: Former chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Arif Ali Khan Abbasi rejoined the PCB as its chief consultant after remaining out of the board affairs for almost 18 years.

May 21: The Supreme Court reinstated Najam Sethi as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

May 30: Rear Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi assumed the command of Pakistan fleet (Compak).

June 01: Nargis Sethi was appointed as the new Secretary for Water and Power.

June 10: The Parliamentary Committee on Judges’ Appointment unanimously approved the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan to elevate Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Umer Atta Bandial as a judge of the Supreme Court.
It also endorsed elevation of Justice Kh. Imtiaz Ahmed as Chief Justice of the LHC and appointment of Athar Minallah as an additional judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

June 14: The federal government changed Punjab police Inspector General Khan Baig, replacing him with Balochistan IG Mushtaq Sukhera.
Punjab Special Branch Additional IG Muhammad Amlish was posted as Balochistan IG in place of Mr Sukhera.

June 14: The Punjab government made DCO Lahore Dr Ahmad Javed Qazi an OSD, and appointed Captain (retd) Usman in his place.

Education

May 16: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government removed the upper age limit for the girls’ admission to public sector universities and colleges in the province. It also decided to provide free education and boarding facilities to the physically-challenged students enrolled in the local government educational institutions.

May 29: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) issued a policy note to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to revise its Equivalence Standard for Master’s degree programmes.

June 02: The federal government announced that it will bear the boarding and lodging expenses of bright students belonging to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) who are attaining higher education under the Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme (PMFRS).
The scheme will sponsor entire educational expenses of such students.

June 03: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced a grant of Rs2 billion for the construction of a new campus of King Edward Medical University (KEMU) at an earlier provided land of 120 acres for the purpose in Muridke.

June 06: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded scholarships to 94 students of Balochistan enrolled in the two-year Associated Degree in Education (ADE) and the four-year B.Ed Hons programmes.

June 09: President Mamnoon Hussain appointed Dr Mohammad Asif Khan, Director, National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, as the vice-chancellor of the Karakoram International University. President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain in his capacity is the chancellor of the varsity.

People & Places in News
Lahore

On May 23, a three-day 5th Alhamra International Conference titled ‘Beetay Huay Din Yaad Aatey Hain’ started at the Alhamra Art Centre, Lahore.
Nespak

On May 23, the National Engineering Services of Pakistan (Nespak) was recognized as the Best Enterprise in quality and management spheres by the Europe Business Assembly.
Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta

On May 23, the World Health Assembly awarded a Pakistani physician, Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta, the ‘Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize’ for his global work on child health and newborn survival.
Lahore

On May 24, the Lahore chapter of Pakistan Mauritius Friendship Association was formally launched.
UVAS, Lahore

On May 24, the third International Halal Conference concluded at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) with the signing of ‘Lahore Declaration’, which calls for taking appropriate measures to promote trade of Halal industry, including food and non-food products.
EFU Life Assurance Ltd

On May 26, EFU Life Assurance Ltd., won the Brand of the Year Award 2013 for the second time by Brand Foundation for ‘Best Life Insurance Company’.
Nilofer Shahid

On May 27, Pakistan’s most respected and experienced haute couturier, Nilofer Shahid, was officially awarded with ‘Le Grade De Chevalier Dan L’ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres’ in recognition of her contribution to the development of Art, Culture & Fashion Design, also making her the first Pakistani fashion designer on whom this honour has been bestowed.
Mr Amjad A. Khan

Nespak MD Mr Amjad A. Khan was nominated for the prestigious award of the Best Manager of the Year by the EBA. Mr Khan has been invited to receive the award at the Traditional Socrates Award Ceremony on July 2 in Italy.
Shahid Ghaffar

On May 29, Shahid Ghaffar assumed the charge as the managing director of the National Investment Trust Limited (NITL).
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed

On June 04, leading a delegation of senators and scholars to Saudi Arabia on the invitation of the Speaker of the Shoura Council, Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, Senator Mushahid Hussain initiated the first ever parliamentary dialogue on bilateral and Muslim World issues.
Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi

On June 04, for the first time-ever, a Pakistani national, the incumbent Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC), Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, who also happens to be the chairman of the Fertilizer Manufacturers Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC), was appointed as the director of the prestigious and globally famous International Association for the Global Fertilizer Industry (IFA).

Lt Gen Lodhi (Retd) has now become the first-ever Pakistani to be selected as the member of the board of directors of the International Fertilizer Association.
Lateef Johar

On June 06, a Baloch activist, Lateef Johar, ended his hunger strike after 45 days outside the Karachi Press Club after an international rights body assured him that his cause of raising voice for the recovery of the missing chief of his student organisation would be pursued globally.
Abuja, Nigeria

On June 10, President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain visited Nigeria and held delegation level talks Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Jonathan whereby both leaders agreed to cooperate in the fields of counter-terrorism and defence, besides giving impetus to enhancement of trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, infrastructure, investment and human resource development. They also agreed to intensify cooperation between the two nations at international forums and efforts for reforms in the UN Security Council.
Rawalpindi

On June 11, the daylong 72nd Formation Commanders’ Conference was held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi. It was chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.
Islamabad

On June 15, an international conference on polio eradication was held in Islamabad. The Conference was attended by scholars from foreign countries and clerics and academics from across the country and officials of the health ministry and Islamic Development Bank.

International

May 16: Results from India’s elections returned the religious revanchist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with an unprecedented grip on power.

May 16: President Barack Obama renewed sanctions against Myanmar even though he said it had made some progress on reforms. The sanctions bar American companies and citizens from investing in the country.

May 16: A fourth round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers ended with both sides complaining that major gaps remained ahead of a July 20 deadline for a vaunted accord.

May 16: Indian Supreme Court ordered a tough new investigation into spot-fixing allegations in the Indian Premier League (IPL), giving the probe panel additional powers and police assistance.

May 17: Taiwan’s parliament approved a ‘rich man’s tax’ on nearly 10,000 of the island’s wealthiest people in a bid to narrow the widening income gap.
Starting next year, those with annual net income of over Tw$10 million ($333,000), or the richest 1.5 per cent of individuals or families, will be subject to a 45pc income tax rate, up from the current 40pc.

May 17: The United States lifted a decade-old visa ban on Narendra Modi while President Barack Obama invited India’s next prime minister to visit Washington.

May 17: Sudan’s state security arrested former prime minister, Sadiq al Mahdi, after he reportedly accused a counter-insurgency unit of rape and other abuses of civilians in Darfur.

May 17: Colombia’s government and main rebel group announced an agreement to jointly combat illicit drugs. Under the accord, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, agreed to divorce itself completely from the drug trade.

May 19: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops deployed near Ukraine to return to their home bases.

May 19: Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, won most seats in parliamentary elections. His State of Law alliance, however, fell short of an overall majority.

May 19: Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri was convicted of terrorism charges in New York.

May 19: Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Tripoli and evacuated all its diplomats over ‘security concerns’ in Libya.

May 19: The United States indicted five members of the Chinese military on charges that they stole US secrets through hacking to help state-run companies.

May 20: China and Russia started joint naval exercises off Shanghai. President Xi Jinping launched the drills, with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

May 20: China banned the use of Microsoft’s latest operating system on government computers, as part of a decree about the use of energy-saving products.

May 20: Three years after the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used a vaccination programme in Pakistan to trace Osama bin Laden, the White House ordered the agency not to use health initiatives as a ruse for spying.

May 20: Thailand’s army chief imposed martial law, but insisted the intervention did not amount to military coup.

May 21: Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was taken into custody in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party’s former president Nitin Gadkari.

May 21: Deposed former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling millions in public funds for lavish renovations to family properties.

May 21: South Asia is the most corrupt region of the world and governments must strengthen their anti-graft agencies to prevent political interference and protect whistle-blowers, Transparency International said.
The watchdog group found serious problems with anti-corruption efforts in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

May 22: Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes.

May 23: The Philippines and Indonesia signed an agreement resolving a sea border dispute after 20 years of negotiations.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers of the deal defining the borders of the countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea.

May 23: Iraq filed for arbitration against Turkey to stop exports of oil from Kurdistan after European markets bought the first load of oil piped from the autonomous region.

May 23: The International Criminal Court sentenced a Congolese warlord, Germain Katanga, nicknamed Simba, to 12 years in prison. The Presiding Judge Bruno Cotte read out the sentence.

May 23: Four insurgent gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on India’s consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat.

May 24: Thailand’s military junta disbanded the Senate and placed all law-making authority in the army chief’s hands.

May 25: The proposed cabinet of Libyan premier Ahmed Miitig won a vote of confidence in the General National Congress, or interim parliament.

May 25: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives claimed victory in European Parliament elections.
Germany, the most populous country in the EU, sends 96 members to the 751-seat European Parliament which has demanded a stronger say in who takes over from outgoing European Commission president Jose Manuel Barosso.

May 25: President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to American troops in Afghanistan.

May 26: Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, Suryadharma Ali, resigned after being accused of misusing funds that were supposed to help Muslims go on pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah.

May 26: The US Supreme Court ruled that states must look beyond an intelligence test score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed.

The justices said in a 5-4 decision that Florida and a handful of other states cannot rely solely on an IQ score above 70 to bar an inmate from claiming mental disability.

May 27: US President Barack Obama announced his plans to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

May 28: Five Muslim women made it to Forbes’
list of the 100 most powerful women.
Shiekh Hasina Wajid
Prime Minister of Bagladesh: 47th
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi;
Minister of International Cooperation and Development in UAE: 55th
Lubna S. Olayan;
CEO Olayan Financing Company: 86th
Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani
Daughter of Qatar royal family and chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority:91st
Fatima Al Jaber; COO Al Jaber Group UAE’ 94th

May 29: Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi scored a crushing presidential election triumph and consolidated the military’s grip.
Ninety-six per cent of the voters, at least 21 million Egyptians, chose Sisi, who deposed elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
June 01: Afghanistan said that it was pulling out of security talks scheduled to be held in Islamabad on June 4.

June 01: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose a former spy, Ajit Doval, as his national security adviser.

June 02: Spanish King Juan Carlos announced he will hand the crown to his son Felipe, ending a historic 39-year reign that guided Spain to democracy.
The 76-year-old, crowned in November 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco, said he wanted to hand over to ‘a younger generation’ after several turbulent years.

June 02: A long-awaited Palestinian unity government took oath before president Mahmud Abbas after a landmark reconciliation deal with Islamist movement Hamas that has infuriated Israel.

June 02: Celebrations greeted the creation of India’s newest state of Telangana, marking the formal division of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
A Regional political leader, Chandrasekhar Rao, was sworn in as first chief minister of India’s 29th state.

June 02: Protests by supporters of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were banned in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

June 03: India’s newly sworn-in Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde, a crucial party strategist in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, was killed in a road accident.

June 03: Turkey lifted a controversial ban on YouTube, days after the country’s top court ruled that it breached the right to free speech.

June 03: Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won 96.9 per cent of votes in Egypt’s presidential election.

June 05: Leaders of the groups of seven industrialised nations (G-7) decided to tighten defences against the risk of terror attacks by European Jihadists returning from the Syrian front.

June 05: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a new seven-year term with nearly 90 per cent of the vote.

June 07: The United Arab Emirates introduced military service, compulsory for men aged between 18 and 30, state news agency WAM announced.

June 10: Unknown gunmen shot and killed Sheik Mohamed Idris, the chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya.

June 10: Miss Universe Thailand, Weluree Ditsayabut, resigned less than a month into her reign after being harshly criticised on social media over her political comments and looks.

June 10: An Al Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), seized control of Iraq’s big northern city Mosul, putting security forces to flight in a spectacular show of strength against the government.

June 10: Thailand’s military government lifted a late-night curfew in 20 more provinces, but it remained in place in more than 50 others and in the capital, Bangkok.

June 11: Militants seized the Iraqi city of Tikrit but their assault on Samarra was repulsed as a lightning offensive launched in the country’s second city Mosul swept closer to Baghdad.

June 12: The day finally arrived all Brazilians, and the world, were waiting for. After all the concerns over construction delays, strikes and protests, the 2014 FIFA World Cup opened with a colourful inaugural ceremony highlighting the Brazilian culture.

June 12: N. Srinivasan was allowed to go ahead with contesting the election for ICC president as the India’s Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea by Cricket Association of Bihar to restrain him from joining the poll.

June 14: South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics formed a partnership with US entertainment giant Marvel in an effort to promote its new tablet PC Galaxy Tab S.
June 14: One of India’s top Bollywood actresses Preity Zinta filed a police complaint alleging that she was molested, abused and threatened by a former boyfriend at an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match.
June 14: The United States ordered an aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, into the Gulf in response to the crisis in Iraq.

Elections and Appointments

May 22: Anandiben Patel, a close Narendra Modi associate, was sworn-in as first woman chief minister of Gujarat.
73-year-old Ms Patel, who was revenue, urban development and disaster management minister in the Modi cabinet, was administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor Kamla Beniwal.

May 25: An exit poll showed that billionaire candy-maker Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s presidential election in the first round.

May 26: Narendra Modi was sworn-in as India’s 15th prime minister in an elaborate ceremony at New Delhi’s resplendent presidential palace.

June 09: The former rebel leader Hashim Thaci claimed a third term as prime minister of Kosovo.

June 10: Israel’s parliament elected Reuven Rivlin, a far-right member of the ruling Likud party, to be the nation’s 10th president. The 74-year-old former parliamentary speaker will take over when Peres retires at the end of July.

Economy

May 21: China signed a landmark deal to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion, giving a boost to diplomatically isolated President Vladimir Putin and expanding Moscow’s ties with Asia.

May 29: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with Kazakhstan and Belarus creating a vast trading bloc which he hopes will challenge the economic might of the United States, the European Union and China.

Obituaries

May 19: Formula One great Sir Jack Brabham, who claimed three world drivers’ titles and remains the only man to win the championship in a car he built himself, died.
May 22: Jaime Lusinchi, Venezuela’s former president who left office in 1989, died aged 89.

May 23: Madhav Mantri, India’s oldest surviving Test cricketer and a former manager of the national side, died at the age of 92.
Mantri, who was uncle of former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar, acted as a mentor to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar during a long career as a player, national selector and administrator.

May 26: Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the last Communist leader of Poland, who sent tanks to crush Solidarity’s stirrings for democracy in 1981 and went on to preside over the death of the system that had nurtured him, died in Warsaw. He was 90.

May 27: Former Gloucestershire and England off-spinner David Allen died aged 78. Allen played 39 Tests for England in the 1960s.

May 28: Celebrated African-American author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died. She was 86.

May 28: Sultan Azlan Shah, who reigned over the Malay state of Perak for three decades and was an avid fan of field hockey and was known for the Azlan Shah Cup annual hockey tournament, which was named after him, died.

June 01: Mary Soames, the last surviving child of British World War II leader Winston Churchill, died. She was 91.

June 05: Chester Nez, the last of 29 Navajo Indians who helped create a code used by the US army during World War II and that was never broken by the Axis Powers, died at the age of 93.

June 02: Former Brazil left back Marinho Chagas, a regular in Brazil’s team that came fourth at the 1974 World Cup, died.

June 03: American chemist Alexander Shulgin, known as the ‘Godfather of ecstasy’ for turning an obscure chemical into a widely-used party drug, died aged 88.

June 07: The Brazilian football team’s former striker and coach Fernando Lucio da Costa, better known as Fernandao, died.
June 08: Prince Katsura, a cousin of Japanese Emperor Akihito and the sixth in line to the Japanese imperial throne, died of acute heart failure.

June 10: Former Australian Test all-rounder Gary Gilmour died at the age of 62.

June 11: Harilal Shah, who led East Africa in the 1975 World Cup, died. He was 71.

June 14: Richard Rockefeller, great-grandson of US oil tycoon and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, died. He was 65.

Sports

May 17: St. Johnstone clinched the Scottish Cup for the first time in their 130-year history.

May 18: Atletico Madrid secured their 10th La Liga title; their first in 18 years.

May 18: Aaron Ramsey scored an extra-time winner as Arsenal finally ended their nine-year trophy drought in a pulsating FA Cup final.

May 18: Novak Djokovic extended his recent dominance over Rafael Nadal by winning the Italian Open for the third time.

May 19: Malaysia’s Nicol David regained the British Open. David, the world number one, won against England’s world champion Massaro.

May 25: Real Madrid came back from the dead to write another glorious chapter in their history when they won the Champions League for the 10th time.

May 26: Russia’s ice hockey team overpowered Finland to take gold at the world championships in Minsk.

June 07: The seventh seed from Russia Maria Sharapova claimed her second French Open title when she floored Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep in final.

June 08: Rafael Nadal clinched his ninth French Open and 14th career Grand Slam title with a victory over Novak Djokovic.
The world No. 1 also became the first man to win five Roland Garros crowns in succession as the 28-year-old took his record at the tournament to 66 wins against just one defeat.

June 09: Daniel Ricciardo claimed his maiden Formula One victory for Red Bull in a dramatic crash-hit Canadian Grand Prix.

June 15: Australia produced a splendid performance to outclass the Netherlands 6-1 to grab their third World Cup Hockey title.

Science

May 17: Palaeontologists in Argentina’s remote Patagonia region discovered fossils of what was likely the largest dinosaur ever to roam the earth. The creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.

The dinosaur ‘weighed the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants’ or about 100 tonnes.

May 29: Nine scientists won awards for theories about the first moments of the universe, discoveries about the brain and techniques to let researchers see ever-tinier things.

The winners, announced by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, will share three $1 million Kavli Prizes. Awarded biennially since 2008, the prizes are named after philanthropist Fred Kavli, a native of Norway.

The Winners

Astrophysics

Name

Institute

Alan Guth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Andrei Linde (Stanford University)

Alexei Starobinsky (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Neuroscience

Brenda Milner (McGill University, Montreal)

John O’Keefe (University College London)

Marcus Raichle (Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri)

Nanoscience

Thomas Ebbesen (University of Strasbourg in France)

Stefan Hell (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany)
Sir John Pendry (Imperial College London)

June 03: A new kind of ‘Godzilla’ planet ‘so called because of its huge size’was discovered 560 light years from Earth, raising hopes of finding rocky worlds that could sustain life.

Named Kepler-10c, the planet is 17 times more massive than our planet, and has been named a ‘mega-Earth’.

June 12: A South American frog has a tongue so sticky it can generate pulling forces three times the animal’s own bodyweight, scientists reported. The amphibian with the lingual power is the horned frog ‘Ceratophrys in Latin’ which is famous for grabbing outsized prey like snakes, lizards, crabs and rodents.

People & Places in News
Jordan

On May 18, more than 13,000 troops from 24 countries took part in the annual ‘Eager Lion’ military exercise in Jordan, state news agency Petra said. Some 8,000 troops from 19 countries including the United States, Britain, Egypt, France, Iraq, Turkey and Saudi Arabia took part in last year’s ‘Eager Lion’ exercises in the kingdom.

Shanghai, China

On May 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mongolian President Tsakhigiin Elbegdorj, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, President Mamnoon Hussain and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani participated in the 4th Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit that was held in Shanghai, China.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

On May 24, Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the Palme d’Or top prize at the Cannes Film Festival for ‘Winter Sleep’ a slow-burn domestic drama that mesmerised audiences despite its more than three-hour length.
Main prize-winners at Cannes Film Festival
Palme d’Or: ‘Winter Sleep’ Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Best Director: Bennett Miller, ‘Foxcatcher’
Best Actress: Julianne Moore in ‘Maps to the Stars’ by David Cronenberg
Best Actor: Timothy Spall in ‘Mr Turner’ by Mike Leigh
Best Screenplay: Andrei Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin for ‘Leviathan’
Grand Prix (runner-up to Palme d’Or):’The Wonders’ by Alice Rohrwacher
Jury Prize: ‘Mommy’ by Xavier Dolan and ‘Goodbye to Language’ by Jean-Luc Godard.

Cllr Dr James Shera

On May 24, a renowned British Pakistani Christian activist, educationist and former Mayor of Rugby Dr Cllr James Shera made a record by getting elected as a councillor for the 10th consecutive term from Benn Ward of Rugby Council.
James Shera has been conferred with Sitara-e-Pakistan and several other national accolades and MBE in Pakistan.

Budapest, Hungary

On May 25, a 3,476-metre high tower of Lego plastic bricks, constructed by more than 5,000 volunteer school children in five days and consists of about 500,000 plastic bricks, made a new Guinness world record for highest Lego Tower. The old record was held by US students of Dickinson High School in Milltown, Delaware with 3,443 metres.

Pope Francis and Netanyahu

On May 26, Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded words over the language spoken by Jesus two millennia ago.

Stockholm, Sweden

On May 27, the third annual Stockholm Internet Forum, a gathering of 450 digital activists, technologists and media persons from 90 countries, was opened in Stockholm, Sweden. Day one of the conference focused on the ‘darkness of digitisation’ a defining term coined by Director of Global Affairs at Human Rights Watch Eileen Donahoe during the opening session.

Angela Merkel

On May 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped Forbes’s list of the world’s most powerful women for the fourth consecutive year, followed by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe

On May 30, two Indian-Americans spellers, Sriram Hathwar of New York and Ansun Sujoe of Texas, were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee; the first time in 52 years.

The Shangri-La Dialogue Singapore

On May 30, the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security conference, was held in Singapore. Speaking at the conference, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe raised concerns about escalating tensions in the South China Sea, and urged all countries in the region to observe the rule of law and not use force or threats.

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah

On June 01, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah embarked on a landmark visit to Tehran aimed at mending fences between Iran and the monarchies in the Gulf.

The two-day visit came amid a thaw in ties between Iran and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) since the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013.

Asus, a Taiwanese Company

On June 02, leading Taiwanese tech firm Asus unveiled a hybrid device which combines a laptop, tablet and mobile phone in what it hailed as a ‘world first’.

Payerne, Switzerland

On June 02, a sun-powered plane made a successful test flight, clearing a vital hurdle towards its goal of a round-the-world trip next year. ‘Solar Impulse 2’ carried out a flight lasting two hours and 15 minutes, half an hour longer than scheduled at an air base in Payerne, Switzerland.

Built from carbon fibre, the 2.3-tonne plane has four electrical motors powered by solar cells.

Taipei, Taiwan

Computex, Asia’s biggest technology trade show opened in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

On June 02, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers held a meeting in Riyadh whereby they called for Iran to strengthen the security and stability of the Gulf region by entering into positive action.

Malavath Poorna

On June 04, Malavath Poorna, the 13-year-old daughter of poor Indian farmers, became the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest.

Remo Lang

On June 08, Remo Lang, a Swiss man set a new world record when he leapt from a hot-air balloon from an altitude of 8,000 metres (26,200 feet) without oxygen.

Wearing a ‘wingsuit’ his freefall lasted five minutes.

Eskinder Nega

On June 09, jailed Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Oscar de la Hoya

On June 09, ten-time boxing world champion Oscar de la Hoya was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

London

Up to 1,200 government ministers, military and judicial officials and activists from up to 150 nations attended the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ on 10-13 June 2014 at ExCel London

Angelina Jolie

On June 14, the Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie was named an honorary dame ‘the female version of a knight’ by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

On June 15, a summit of leaders of G77 plus China kicked off deliberations on a new world order with a call by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales to eliminate the UN Security Council.

Developing countries, including some 30 heads of government and representatives of more than 100 nations about two-thirds of the world’s countries gathered to demand a more fair new world order.

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