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World in Focus ( Sept-Oct 2017 )

World in Focus ( Sept-Oct 2017 )

NATIONAL

Sep 16: Pakistan asked the World Bank to constitute a court of arbitration to settle its water dispute with India after India and Pakistan secretary-level talks, at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, failed.

Sep 16: AJK President Sardar Masood Khan took oath as the chief of the AJK Boy Scouts Association.

Sep 16: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved a proposal to increase the number of directors general (DGs) of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from one to four.

He also approved 3 new DG posts in grade 21, 7 deputy director slots in grade 20 and has also enhanced the number of deputy directors general (DDGs) from 8 to 15.

The post of civilian DG in the ISI is a grade 21 position, equivalent to a serving major general of army.

About ISI

1. Formed in 1948, ISI was formerly part of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which handled intelligence-sharing between different branches of the military, as well as external intelligence gathering.
2. Its headquarters was initially located in Rawalpindi, but was later moved to Islamabad.
3. In 1950, ISI was officially given the task of safeguarding Pakistani interests and national security, inside and outside the country.
4. In 2005, Gen Pervez Musharraf approved the posting of a civilian as DG ISI in grade 21 for the first time.

Sep 17: The PML-N candidate, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif, won by-election in NA 120 constituency, securing 61,254 votes against PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid’s 47,066.

Sep 17: Ms Rahat Faiq Jamali was inducted into the Balochistan cabinet as a minister for Labor & Manpower, becoming the only woman in the provincial cabinet.

Sep 17: Renowned television actor Iftikhar Qaiser breathed his last.

Sep 18: British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed became the first male actor of Asian descent to win an Emmy for acting. He was nominated for his role in HBO’s The Night Of.

Sep 18: The Bank of China was allowed to commence banking business in Pakistan, becoming only the second Chinese bank allowed to operate in the country.

Sep 19: The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) awarded $700 million to Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim AS, a Turkish company that constructs and operates rental power plants (RPPs), in a damages suit it had brought out against Pakistan.

Sep 20: The PCB’s anti-corruption tribunal awarded Khalid Latif a 5-year ban and Rs1 million fine in PSL spot-fixing case.

Sep 21: The Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab home secretary to make public the Justice Najafi Commission report into the 2014 killings in Model Town, Lahore.

Sep 21: The Senate of Pakistan suspended its Pakistan-Switzerland friendship group for an indefinite period over BLA posters issue.

Sep 21: The Senate of Pakistan announced the formation of an eight-member special committee to prepare a set of recommendations to reform the FPSC.

Sep 21: Google unveiled a doodle to mark the 92nd birthday of Malika-i-Tarannum Noor Jehan.

About Noor Jehan

1. Noor Jehan was born on Sept. 21, 1925 (one account suggests it was 1926) in Kasur.
2. She was barely 10 years when she started working in films as a child artist, and began singing songs for films as a teenager.
3. Khandaan (1942) directed by Shaukat Husain Rizvi was the film that proved the first major milestone in her career.
4. After partition, Noor Jehan worked in films both as an actor and singer but soon quit acting to concentrate on music.
5. She died on Dec 23, 2000.

Sep 21: A bust of Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam was unveiled at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

Sep 21: A UK cricket team played a T20 match against former Pakistan greats in Miramshah.

Sep 22: The Senate passed the Election Bill, 2017, to retain a controversial clause resurrected by Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf through the Political Parties Order 2002, paving the way for Nawaz Sharif to head his party i.e. PML-N.

The Rare, Potent Fuel Powering North Korea’s Weapons

North Korea recently launched a number of long-range missiles to demonstrate its ability to strike Guam and perhaps the United States mainland, it powered the weapons with a rare, potent rocket fuel that American intelligence agencies believe initially came from China and Russia.

The United States government is scrambling to determine whether those two countries are still providing the ingredients for the highly-volatile fuel and, if so, whether North Korea’s supply can be interrupted, either through sanctions or sabotage. Among those who study the issue, there is a growing belief that the United States should focus on the fuel, either to halt it, if possible, or to take advantage of its volatile properties to slow the North’s programme.

But it may well be too late. Intelligence officials believe that the North’s programme has advanced to the point where it is no longer reliant on outside suppliers, and that it may itself be making the potent fuel, known as UDMH. Despite a long record of intelligence warnings that the North was acquiring both forceful missile engines and the fuel to power them, there is no evidence that Washington has ever moved with urgency to cut off Pyongyang’s access to the rare propellant.

Some experts are sceptical that the North has succeeded in domestic production, given the great difficulty of making and using the highly-poisonous fuel, which, in far more technically advanced nations, has led to giant explosions of missiles and factories.

Sep 22: A British Pakistani Conservative parliamentarian and a Tory MP, Rahman Chishti, was appointed Britain’s trade envoy to Pakistan.

Sep 22: In his first address to the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi highlighted Kashmir as a key dispute, refused to be a ‘scapegoat’ for Afghanistan and reminded the world that it was not Pakistan that started a nuclear race in South Asia.

Sep 22: Nawabzada Gazain Marri, son of the late Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, was arrested on his arrival at Quetta airport after ending 18 years of self-exile.

Sep 22: Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz issued directives to the ministries of National Health Services and Finance to enforce the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to make cigarettes inaccessible to citizens.

Sep 23: The federal government enforced Police Act 1861 and judicial system to Fata in an attempt to give policing powers to the Levies force in the region. The Levies offices have been replaced by police and no officer less than the rank of Naib Tehsildar would be appointed as police officer.

The term ‘Commandant of the Federal Levies Force’ has been replaced with ‘Inspector General of Police’. The term ‘court’ as defined under the amended Act would now mean the ‘court of assistant political agent Landi Kotal’, and ‘special court under the high court’.

Sep 23: The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) issued a final partial award against Pakistan, directing the country to pay around Rs11 billion claimed by nine independent power producers (IPPs).

Sep 26: The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games concluded in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Pakistan’s 135-member contingent took part in 9 disciplines and finished at the 21st position with a total of 21 medals including two gold, three silver and 16 bronze medals.

Sep 26: Pakistan was ranked 115th in 2017-18 against the 122th position in 2016-17 in Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Among 138 countries, Pakistan’s institutions are ranked as following:

Intellectual Property Organization (97), Judicial Independence (80), Police Services (116), Auditor General of Pakistan Revenues (110), National Highways Authority (76), Pakistan Railways (52), Civil Aviation Authority (91), NEPRA (115), Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (116), National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (99), Competition Commission of Pakistan (70), Pakistan Customs (93), State Bank of Pakistan among other 138 Central Banks at (89), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan at (91) and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (135).

Sep 28: Fatima Sughra, the young girl who hoisted up the Pakistani flag for the very first time, passed away. She was 84.

About Fatima Sughra

1. Sughra struggled for the Independence of Pakistan at a very young age, and made her name. But the flag hoisting is what she will always symbolise for people.
2. Born in 1932, Sughra was only 14 when she became one of the youngest members of the Pakistan Movement.
3. In 1946, for the first time, she took down the British Union Jack from the Civil Secretariat Lahore and pulled up an ad hoc Muslim League flag made out from a dupatta.
4. For this, the Government of Pakistan gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Pride of Performance Award.

Sep 28: Former director general ISPR, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, was appointed Quetta Corps Commander. He replaced Lt Gen Aamer Riaz who was posted as Lahore Corps Commander. Lt Gen Sadiq Ali, the Lahore Corps Commander, was appointed Inspector General Arms at the GHQ.

Sep 28: Two activists from India-held Kashmir, Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez, won Norway’s Rafto Prize for human rights for their long-term struggle against violence in the disputed region.

Highlights

1. Parveena Ahangar, nicknamed “The Iron Lady of Kashmir,” founded the Association of Parents of Missing Persons after her 17-year-old son was kidnapped by security forces in 1990.
2. Her co-laureate, lawyer Imroz Parvez, founded the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society which promotes human rights and non-violence.
3. Named after the late Norwegian human rights activist Thorolf Rafto, four past winners of the prize (Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi) went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Sep 29: The Punjab government and a Chinese energy company, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, signed a 1,263-megawatt gas power project that will be established near the Trimu Barrage in Jhang.

Oct 01: World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver flyweight champion Muhammad Waseem defeated Panamanian opponent Carlos to successfully defend his title. It was the eighth consecutive win for the Pakistani boxer.

Oct 02: According to the annual report of the Economic Freedom of the World 2017, by Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) Pakistan in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute, Pakistan was ranked 127th out of total 159 countries. Pakistan was at 137th position in 2016.

Oct 02: President Mamnoon Hussain signed the controversial Election Act, 2017, into law.

Oct 02: Renowned artist Tasadduq Sohail passed away. He was 87.

Oct 02: Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zakaullah was presented the highest military award of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence.

Oct 05: Pakistan’s Gulalai Ismail and India’s outspoken newspaper editor Gauri Lankesh, who was murdered recently, jointly won the annual ‘Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) Anna Politkovskaya Award’.

Oct 05: The National Assembly adopted amendments to the recently passed Election Act, 2017, restoring the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration for candidates, and two clauses on the status of Ahmadis, in their original form.

Oct 05: The federal government approved the establishment of a special protection unit in Gilgit-Baltistan for providing security to foreigners working on the CPEC projects.

Oct 05: Pakistan was elected chair of global HR Standard on HR Metrics during ISO Standards meeting at Bali, Indonesia.

Currently, there are 162 countries in ISO.

Oct 05: The FPSC announced the result of written part of competitive examination CSS 2017. According to the result, 312 candidates out of a total of 9,391 have passed the exam. A total of 23,025 candidates had applied for the written test.

Oct 06: Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Emmy Award for ‘Best Documentary’ for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”.

Oct 07: The federal government appointed former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as an ad-hoc judge for the Kulbhushan Jadhav case being heard by the ICJ at The Hague.

Oct 07: Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was sworn in as Chief of the Naval Staff at an impressive change of command ceremony held at the naval headquarters in Islamabad.

About Admiral Abbasi

1. Admiral Abbasi was commissioned in navy’s operations branch in 1981.
2. He got training at Britain’s Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
3. He won the coveted Sword of Honour from the Pakistan Naval Academy after getting commission.
4. He has headed a number of organisations, including the Pakistan Naval Academy and the Maritime Security Agency.
5. During his posting in Bahrain, Admiral Abbasi held command of a multi-national combined task force.
6. His key staff appointments include Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans), Chief Inspector (Navy) and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (Operations).
7. Before his recent appointment, he was serving as the Chief of Staff at Naval Headquarters.

Oct 08: The World Bank in its report ‘The South Asia Economic Focus Fall 2017’ warned that macroeconomic risks in Pakistan have increased substantially during the fiscal year 2017, as the external balance is particularly vulnerable given the persistent current account deficit.

Oct 08: Zurich-based Fédération Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimilés (FIATA) elected, unopposed, Mr Babar Badat as its president.

Oct 10: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the second and final day-night Test in Dubai, clinching the series.

Oct 10: The Punjab government launched the motorcycle ambulance service.

Oct 11: The Election Commission of Pakistan turned down the plea of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League for registration.

Oct 11: The global football governing body FIFA suspended Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) with immediate effect.

Oct 11: The new National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, assumed the office.

About Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal

1. Born in 1936, Justice Iqbal has headed two important commissions; the Abbottabad Commission formed to probe the preludes and causes of the US raid in Abbottabad in 2011 that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
2. He also headed the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, constituted on the Supreme Court’s orders by the Interior Ministry.

Oct 08: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif unveiled the first train of the Orange Line Metro Train Project.

Launched in May 2014, the project will cover a distance of 27.1kms from Ali Town to Dera Gujjran.

Oct 11: A Pakistani student entrepreneur Neha Shahid Chaudhry, whose grandfather was debilitated by Parkinson’s disease, made an innovative walking stick to improve the lives of other patients with the condition.

Oct 12: Security forces, with the support of US intelligence, freed an American woman Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three children from terrorists’ captivity from Nawe Kali, a remote area about 15 kilometres southwest of Kohat town.

Oct 12: Former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali announced to quit ruling party PML-N.

Oct 13: A commemorative postage stamp of Rs 8 denomination was issued in honor of one of the founding members of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, Maulana Mufti Mahmood – former Chief Minsiter of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then NWFP). He is the fatherof JUI (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

Oct 13: The government appointed Shahid Ashraf Tarar as executive director of the World Bank for three years. He has replaced Nasir Mahmood Khan Khosa.

Oct 14: Teenage wrestler Muhammad Inayatullah became first-ever Pakistani wrestler to win a title at any world wrestling championship.

Oct 14: Actor Nusrat Ara, who played a popular character commonly known as Bil Batori, in a children’s television play Ainak Wala Jinn, passed away. She was 65.

Oct 15: Pakistan became a member of the WorldSkills General Assembly, an international body working for the promotion of technical and vocational education.

INTERNATIONAL 

Sep 16: Noted American actor, musician and singer Harry Dean Stanton died at 91.

Sep 16: Dubai awarded a $3.8 billion contract to Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Electric and ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia for the final phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park aimed at generating 5,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030.

Sep 16: An Egyptian court sentenced ousted president Mohammed Mursi to 25 years in prison in a case accusing him of spying for Qatar.

Sep 16: A Chinese state-owned company CITIC Investment Group provided a $10 billion credit line for Iranian banks.

Sep 17: Indian premier Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s biggest dam, the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the River Narmada in Gujarat.

The project has been beset by controversies since the laying of the foundation stone by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961. The construction of the project began in 1987.

Sep 17: The world’s first smart police station, the first of its kind in the region and the world, was inaugurated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Sep 17: India appointed Ajay Bisaria as its new High Commissioner to Pakistan, replacing Gautam Bambawale who proceeded to China.

Sep 17: Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix to seize control of the Formula One world championship.

Sep 18: Israel inaugurated with its US ally its first-ever joint missile defence base on Israeli soil.

World in Focus ( Sept-Oct 2017 )Sep 19: Russian oil giant Rosneft announced to invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan.

Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently from Baghdad since 2014 and Kremlin-controlled Rosneft joined the list of buyers this year, lending the region hundreds of millions of dollars in loans guaranteed by future oil sales.

Sep 18: Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer who is widely credited with helping prevent a nuclear war with the United States, died aged 77.

Petrov, whose extraordinary story was told in a documentary titled “The Man Who Saved the World”, received several international awards.

Trump at the UNGA

Sep 19: In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump threatened to totally destroy North Korea and hinted at the possibility of rescinding nuclear deal with Iran.

Main Points of Trump’s Speech

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.”

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.”

“No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.”

Mr Trump borrowed a term — “rocket man” — from a popular song by Elton John to describe the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

Sep 20: United Nations began signing the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact backed by over 100 countries but spurned by those with nuclear arms. Brazilian President Michel Temer was the first to sign.

Sep 21: L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the world’s richest woman, died at the age of 94.

Sep 23: The Turkish parliament approved a one-year extension of a mandate to use troops abroad in Syria and Iraq.

Sep 23: Iran successfully tested a new medium-range missile, the Khoramshahr missile, having a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and capacity to carry multiple warheads.

Sep 24: German Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched a fourth term in office. Merkel scored around 33 percent of the vote, but her victory was clouded by the hard-right AfD party winning its first seats in parliament.

Sep 24: Caroline Wozniacki beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to retain her Pan Pacific Open title.

Sep 25: The Trump administration announced to replace its travel ban with a new proclamation barring visitors from eight countries. The new directive adds three new nations, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.

Sep 26: Robert Bilott, a US environmental lawyer who defended Americans whose drinking water had been contaminated by chemicals, won the 2017 Right Livelihood Award, the Swedish human rights prize.

Swedish-German philatelist Jakob von Uexkull founded the prize in 1980 after the Nobel Foundation behind the Nobel Prizes refused to create awards honouring efforts in the fields of the environment and international development.

Sep 26: Interpol opened its general assembly in Beijing, China.

Sep 26: China staged military exercises in Djibouti, its first overseas military base.

Sep 27: For the second year in a row, Bangkok was named the world’s top tourism destination by Mastercard’s annual travel index in honour of World Tourism Day.

The 2017 Global Destination Cities Index looks at visitor volume and spending at the largest 132 cities in the world.

Sep 27: San Francisco-based Twitter started testing allowing tweets of 280 characters — double the existing limit.

Sep 27: The Kurdish referendum on independence from Iraq was approved by more than 92 percent of voters.

Sep 27: International police agency Interpol voted to include Palestine as a member state, in a new boost to Palestinian efforts for international recognition and influence amid long-stalled negotiations with Israel for full statehood. The Interpol also announced the inclusion of the Solomon Islands after a vote by its general assembly in Beijing. With the new votes, Interpol will have 192 member countries.

Sep 28: The UN human rights office said in a report that Russia is violating international law in Crimea, including by imposing Russian citizenship on its people and transferring hundreds of prisoners and detainees to prisons in Russia.

Sep 28: Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, 37, an Egyptian believed to be the world’s heaviest woman, died.

Sep 28: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way for a snap election.

Sep 28: Journalist Richard Pyle, whose career spanned the globe and a half-century of crisis, war, catastrophe and indelible moments in news reporting, died at 83.

Sep 29: President Putin and his Turkish counterpart President Erdogan agreed to step up efforts to bring peace to Syria.

Sep 29: A stampede on an overcrowded Mumbai railway bridge, lashed by a monsoon storm, killed at least 22 people.

Sep 30: President Trump’s embattled health secretary Tom Price was forced out of the US administration amid a scandal over his use of costly private jets for government travel.

Sep 30: Tom Alter, a well-known Indian theatre, television and Bollywood actor of American descent, died. He was 67.

Sep 30: Caroline Garcia overpowered Australia’s Ashleigh Barty to claim her first Wuhan Open title.

Oct 01: Catalonia overwhelmingly voted for independence from Spain, with 90 percent of over twoWorld in Focus ( Sept-Oct 2017 )million votes counted saying “yes”.

However, the Spanish government has said repeatedly it does not recognise the referendum, let alone its results.

Oct 02: Canadian Brooke Henderson won the New Zealand Women’s Open.

Oct 02: At least 58 people were killed and over 500 injured when a gunman opened fire on a country music concert at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas.

Police identified the heavily armed attacker as a 64-year-old Nevada resident named Stephen Craig Paddock.

Oct 02: The rightwing Hindu government in Uttar Pradesh removed the Taj Mahal from its official list of tourist destinations for which the state is famous.

Oct 02: India handed a convincing seven-wicket defeat to Australia in the fifth and final One-day International, for a 4-1 series win.

Oct 03: An honour granting Aung San Suu Kyi the Freedom of Oxford was withdrawn by the city’s council because of her response to the Rohingya crisis.

Oct 03: The World Bank said that East Asia and the Pacific, home to the world’s largest slum population of 250 million people, need to invest more in urban planning to reduce risks like flooding and conflict.

The fast-growing region is regarded as a success story because it has slashed extreme poverty rates — living on $1.90 per day — to 12.5 percent in 2010 from 56 percent in 1990, which was the highest globally, the study said.

One-third of the world’s urban population, or 1.2 billion people, live in East Asia and the Pacific’s cities.

Oct 03: Abu Dhabi sold its first ever 30-year sovereign bond as part of a $10 billion triple-tranche debt issue that drew heavy demand.

Oct 03: The United States ordered the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats, accusing Havana of failing to protect their US counterparts from harm in a series of mystery “attacks” on their health.

Oct 03: Ex-Iraqi president and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani died in Germany.

Talabani, 83, was Iraq’s president from 2005 to 2014 and a key figure in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Born in 1933 in the mountain village of Kalkan, he studied law at Baghdad University and did a stint in the army before joining the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, father of current Kurdistan regional president Massud Barzani.

Oct 04: India signed an agreement with Bangladesh extending a $4.5 billion credit line for several infrastructure projects.

The loan, the biggest credit line provided by India to any country, was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April and takes India’s total financial support for Dhaka to more than $8 billion over the past six years.

China is Bangladesh’s biggest trade partner followed by India and last year pledged around $24 billion in loans for the South Asian nation, which is one of the world’s poorest.

Oct 04: The presidents of Iran and Turkey met in Tehran. They vowed to work closely together to prevent the disintegration of Iraq and Syria and to oppose the Iraqi Kurds’ drive for independence.

Oct 05: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who was on a landmark visit to Russia, and President Vladimir Putin signed a slew of arms and energy deals as the key US ally seeks to deepen cooperation with Moscow.

The leaders of the world’s largest energy exporters discussed an extension of an OPEC agreement to cap oil output and oversaw the signing of deals which officials said were worth billions of dollars.

Oct 06: The United States announced to end some of its toughest economic and trade sanctions imposed on the government of Sudan.

Oct 07: US President Donald Trump’s administration annulled an Obamacare provision that obliged employer health plans to pay for contraception.

Oct 07: The US State Department approved the sale of an anti-missile defence system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of $15 billion.

Oct 07: Celebrated Indian filmmaker Kundan Shah, best known for his celebrated social satire Janey Bhi Do Yaro, died. He was 69.

Oct 08: World number one Rafael Nadal won his sixth title of another remarkable year as he beat Australian Nick Kyrgios in the China Open final.

Caroline Garcia stunned Simona Halep in the women’s event.

Oct 09: More productive and sustainable farming systems need to be developed to meet growing food demand, as per a report titled ‘State of the Food and Agriculture 2017’ by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Oct 09: Nato launched a new multinational force in Romania to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea following the Kremlin’s 2014 seizure of Crimea.

The force will initially be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other Nato countries, and complementing a separate deployment of 900 US troops who are already in place.

Oct 09: An Indian court jailed 11 men for life, for setting fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in 2002, which sparked the country’s worst religious riots in decades.

Oct 09: Jean Rochefort, the French actor who played a key role in one of the most cursed movie sagas in Hollywood history, died aged 87.

Oct 10: World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the establishment of a global commission on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at the 64th session of the WHO regional committee for the Eastern Mediterranean held in Islamabad. The meeting attended by health ministers of 15 countries and delegates from 22 countries was held after 25 years.

The commission will be chaired by Dr Sania Nishtar, a prominent global advocate for action against NCDs and a former federal minister of Pakistan.

Oct 11: India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex with a wife aged between 15 and below 18 years, when she becomes an adult, would be a punishable offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Oct 11: Frankfurt book fair, the world’s largest publishing event, opened in Frankfurt, Germany.

Oct 11: Trinidad and Tobago beat the United States and kicked them out of the 2018 Football World Cup to be held in Russia.

The defeat ended a run of seven straight American appearances at football’s showcase.

Oct 12: The United States announced to withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) accusing the body of “anti-Israel bias”.

In 2011 when Unesco members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel, the US stopped paying into Unesco but did not officially withdraw. The US opposes any move by UN bodies to recognise Palestine as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.

World in Focus ( Sept-Oct 2017 )Oct 12: Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal after Hamas agreed to hand over administrative control of Gaza, including the key Rafah border crossing, a decade after seizing the enclave in a civil war. Unity government will get Gaza’s administrative control by Dec 1.

The deal was brokered by Egypt.

Oct 12: The Hurun Report, China’s best known report on personal riches, reported property tycoon Xu Jiayin as the country’s wealthiest person, knocking billionaire Wang Jianlin off the top spot.

Xu’s wealth has nearly quadrupled to $43 billion.

Xu is the founder of developer Evergrande, based in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Dutch team “Nuon” won an epic 3,000-kilometre solar car race, the World Solar Challenge, which was first run in 1987 and last held in 2015, across Australia’s outback for the third-straight year.

Oct 12: Work carried out by a Swedish researcher on garments found in graves dating back to the ninth and 10th centuries threw up groundbreaking insights into linkages between Vikings and the Muslim world.

Patterns woven into the garments with silk and silver threads have been found to spell the words “Allah” and “Ali”.

According to a BBC report, the researcher responsible for the breakthrough is textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of the Uppsala University. She got her “Eureka moment” when she was re-examining the remnants of burial costumes from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries.

The discovery has raised new questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia.

Oct 12: A radical new ‘negative emissions’ power plant begun operations in Iceland.

The EU-backed project at one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Hellisheidi, Iceland, will capture CO2 from ambient air for permanent storage underground.

Oct 13: Refusing to certify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, President Donald Trump gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

Oct 13: President Trump scrapped billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies to private health insurers.

Oct 13: Russia launched a European satellite, the Sentinel-5P, dedicated to monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere, the protective layer that shields the planet from sun’s radiation.

Oct 13: Former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay was selected to head the UN cultural agency, Unesco.

Oct 13: The International Cricket Council (ICC) unveiled a long-awaited, nine-nation Test championship.

The Test league will start in 2019.

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