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World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)

NATIONAL 

Aug 16: The PML-Q president, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, was elected the Punjab Assembly Speaker, for the second time after a gap of 20 years.

Aug 16: PPP’s Syed Murad Ali Shah and PTI’s Mahmood Khan were elected as the chief ministers of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively.

Aug 17: The 15th National Assembly elected PTI’s Imran Khan as the country’s 22nd Prime Minister.

Aug 17: The Supreme Court directed the ECP to ensure that overseas Pakistanis exercise their right to vote in the upcoming by-polls in the country as a pilot project.

Aug 17: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, resigned from his post.

Aug 17: The closing ceremony of air exercise Saffron Bandit was held at Air Warfare School, Mushaf, in Sargodha.

Aug 18: PTI chairman Imran Khan formally assumed the office of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The oath-taking ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries, including parliamentarians, services chiefs, diplomats and celebrities.

Aug 18: Jam Mir Kamal Khan Alyani, the joint candidate of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP)-led six party alliance, was elected as the 16th Chief Minister of Balochistan.

Aug 19: The Chinese government awarded 140 scholarships to Pakistani students, providing them with an opportunity to obtain higher education, from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, from top Chinese universities.

Aug 19: Pakistan national football team got its first victory in Asian Games after 44 years when they defeated Nepal.

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)Aug 19: Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered his first address to the nation, a day after assuming the PM’s office. He vowed to transform Pakistan into a true ‘Islamic welfare state’ with the focus of his government on overcoming foreign debt, austerity, reforms in the FBR and other institutions, eradication of corruption, retrieving the money stashed abroad and creation of jobs.

Aug 19: PTI’s Usman Buzdar was elected as chief minister of Punjab by the 17th Punjab Assembly. He secured 186 votes while his rival Hamza Shahbaz could get 159 votes.

Aug 20: Former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) deputy prosecutor Mirza Shahzad Akbar was appointed special assistant to Prime Minister on accountability.

Aug 20: PCB Chairman Najam Sethi resigned.

Read More: World in Focus (May-June 2018)

Aug 20: In its first meeting, the federal cabinet decided to place the names of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on the Exit Control List (ECL).

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)Aug 24: The PTI government revised working hours in government institutions, abolished discretionary funds of the prime minister, federal ministers and members of the National Assembly and imposed a ban on first-class air travel by the president, head of the government, chief justice, Senate chairman and NA speaker.

Aug 24: Pakistan Army reshuffled its top hierarchy, replacing three important corps commanders. Here is a list of the generals’ transfer and posting:

Aug 24: Ahmad Nawaz, one of the survivors of the 2014 attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) and an activist for education and peace, received six A* and two As in his eight international GCSE [General Certificate of Secondary Education] exams.

Aug 25: Pakistan won its second bronze medal in the ongoing Asian Games.

Pakistan won its first bronze following its men’s kabaddi team loss to South Korea in the semi-final stage.

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)Aug 25: Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed Senator Syed Shibli Faraz the leader of the house in the Senate.

Aug 26: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani officially nominated PML-N Senator Raja Zafarul Haq as new leader of the opposition in Senate. He replaced Sherry Rehman of the PPP.

Aug 26: Pakistan Movement worker Syed Ahmad Saeed Kirmani Advocate passed away. He was 95.

Aug 26: Lanky Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan bowled the most economical spell in Twenty20 cricket history, only conceding a run from his final ball.

Aug 27: PTI leader Imran Ismail took oath as the 30th governor of Sindh.

Aug 27: Prime Minister Imran Khan delegated the responsibility to lead the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet to Finance Minister Asad Umar.

Aug 28: The federal government appointed Dr Muhammad Salman the new head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan the new Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Mehar Khudadad Luck was appointed the Nacta Coordinator.

Aug 29: The KP government appointed senior Supreme Court lawyer Abdul Latif Yousafzai the Advocate General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the second consecutive term.

Aug 29: The PTI government temporarily suspended operations at the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

Aug 29: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan’s 11-member cabinet was sworn-in.

Aug 30: The federal government appointed Anwar Mansoor Khan as Attorney General of Pakistan.

Aug 31: Pakistan became the first country in the world to use multi-spectral imagery for various crops, mapping with 10-meter resolution with remote sensing through UK Satellite Sentinel 2A to determine the kind, health of crops and moisture in soil and to predict the quantum of production.

Sep 01: The Supreme Court restrained Bahria Town Karachi from constructing any building of more than six storeys.

Sep 01: The US military announced to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants.

Sep 01: Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar was sworn in as the 18th chief justice of the Balochistan High Court, becoming the first woman CJ of a high court in Pakistan’s judicial history.

Sep 01: Pakistan announced closure of its consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, citing ‘undue interference’ by the governor of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in its working.

Sep 02: Federal IT Minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui placed a ban on suicidal video games like the Blue Whale and Momo Challenge throughout the country.

Sep 02: Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a countrywide drive to plant 10 billion trees across the country in five years to counter challenges of global warming and deforestation.

Sep 03: The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the appointment of CEO Pakistan International Airlines Musharraf Rasool Cyan as null and void.

Sep 03: Bayaan won Pepsi Battle of the Bands Season 3.

Sep 04: The PTI-led government dissolved the National Commission on Government Reforms (NCGR) and constituted a task force to bring reforms in the civil service and the federal government structure.

Sep 04: Ehsan Mani was elected unopposed as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Sep 04: Dr Arif Alvi, the candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, was elected as the 13th President of Pakistan.

Alvi received 353 electoral votes, Fazlur Rehman 185 and Aitzaz Ahsan 124 votes.

Sep 04: A few hours after the filing of a corruption reference against Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for his alleged involvement in inordinate delay in construction of the 525MW Nandipur power plant, he resigned from his office.

How is the President of Pakistan elected?

The president of Pakistan, according to Article 41 (2) of the Constitution, must be a Muslim of not less than forty-five years of age and he must be qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly.
The president is elected in a secret ballot by the provincial and national assemblies. The electoral college for the president comprises six national and provincial elected bodies of Pakistan: the Senate, the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies.

Of the sextet, the Senate and the NA’s members are given one vote each. However, the four provincial assemblies are assigned an equal weight with the smallest of them all — the Balochistan Assembly — serving as the base.

The Balochistan Assembly has 65 members while the strength of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly is almost double this number, i.e. 124; so the vote of a member of the KP assembly has half the value of the vote of a member of the Balochistan Assembly.

According to the rules, the votes polled for candidates in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies are multiplied by 65 and divided by the total strength of that house, i.e. 371, 168 and 124 respectively. The values obtained are then rounded off.

The President is a ceremonial post, head of state, and merely a figurehead with the executive powers granted to Prime Minister, by the Constitution.

The President is elected for a term of 5 years.

Sep 05: The president, on the advice of the prime minister, reconstituted the Council of Common Interests (CII) with effect from August 31, 2018.

Sep 05: US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, visited Pakistan. During his visit, Pakistan and the United States decided to give reset in ties another shot.

Sep 05: The Supreme Court appointed a JIT to probe the Rs35 billion fake accounts case believed to be used for money laundering that also involved former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur as accused.

Sep 05: PTI leader Chaudhry Sarwar took oath as the 37th governor of Punjab.

Sep 06: Rimsha Ijaz won the 1st President DHA Golf Cup title.

Sep 06: Multan won Punjab U-15 boys Football Cup after they defeated Sahiwal in the final.

Sep 06: The government granted additional charge of the CEO Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) to chairman PIACL Muhammad Saqib Aziz.

Sep 06: Balochistan governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai tendered his resignation.

Sep 07: Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed to overseas Pakistanis to donate $1,000 each to help finance construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan and Mohmand dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sep 07: The federal government transferred and posted top police officers in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sep 07: Noted Pashto film and playwright Nisar Mohammad Khan passed away. He was 78.

Sep 07: Former South African skipper and one of the leading batsmen in world cricket, AB de Villiers consented to join the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for its 2019 season.

Sep 08: Pakistan and China agreed to form a joint working group (JWG) on social sector projects under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Sep 08: Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Haseeb Paracha, a recipient of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military), was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal.

Sep 09: Hamza Sharif of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Noor Zaman of PAF Squash Academy Peshawar clinched the National Junior Under-17 and Under-15 Squash Championship titles.

Sep 09: Dr Arif Alvi was sworn in as the 13th president of Pakistan.

Sep 10: PTI’s Shaukat Ali Yousafzai secured Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s seat PK-23 (Shangla-I) in a re-poll.

Sep 11: Upholding the principle of the public’s right to information, the Sindh High Court ordered the Sindh government to constitute an inquiry tribunal headed by a sitting or retired high court judge to probe the violent incidents of May 12, 2007.

What Happened on May 12, 2007?

May 12, 2007, was a dark chapter of our violent political history, which could have been averted had a better sense prevailed among the rulers. On this day, former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was visiting Karachi to attend the Sindh High Court Bar Association’s golden jubilee celebrations. Pakistan People’s Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami National Party were allies supporting the top judge. Muttahida Qaumi Movement, an ally with former President Pervez Musharraf, was in power then.

The workers of the allied parties reached the airport to receive the top judge, when the violence began with free use of weapons.

Riots broke out in the city leading to deaths of 48 people.

Sep 11: Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, died. She was under treatment at the Harley Street Clinic in London.

Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on parole to take part in Kulsoom’s last rites.

Sep 13: Pakistan’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, was awarded the Turkish Legion of Merit in recognition of his services for promoting defence ties between Pakistan and Turkey.

Sep 13: The federal government approved the plan for turning Prime Minister House, Governor Houses and several other heritage buildings in use of government functionaries into museums, parks, educational institutions and hotels.

Sep 13: While dismissing appeals against a Lahore High Court order, the Supreme Court ordered relocation of three sugar mills from cotton belt districts in southern Punjab to their original sites after dismantling of their machinery within two months.

Sep 13: Veteran journalist Ashfak Bokhari passed away at 75.

Sep 14: Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali resigned.

Sep 15: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid his maiden visit to Kabul.

Analysis

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi rightly chose Afghanistan for his first official trip abroad.

In this visit, the foreign minister met senior Afghan leadership and discussed a range of subjects, from enhancing regional trade to a Pakistani offer to train Afghan police and other security personnel. Mr Qureshi and his Afghan counterparts also agreed to convene meetings of a number of bilateral and multilateral forums, especially the trilateral dialogue with China and the working groups of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.

It is welcome that Afghanistan and Pakistan are engaging each other in a range of forums and in a numbers of areas of mutual interest. A broad-based engagement in dialogue can help lower tensions at the heart of the relationship.

Yet, if Afghanistan and Pakistan are to stabilise their relationship and bring peace to the region, it is in the security and peace arena that cooperation will be key. Afghanistan is looking towards Pakistan to help nudge the Afghan Taliban towards dialogue, while Pakistan is wants Afghanistan to eliminate anti-Pakistan militant sanctuaries on its soil. Thus far, neither country has been able to receive the level of cooperation that it has sought from the other.

But, events inside Afghanistan are gathering speed and between political disarray, a resurgent Taliban, the spectre of the militant Islamic State group and the impatience of President Donald Trump with the US-led war effort, there is a possibility of Afghanistan once again sliding into chaos. Now is the time for Pakistan to extend all the cooperation it can to the Afghan state to set up a framework for a peace settlement with the support of regional and international powers.

Nevertheless, Afghanistan should also focus on removing irritants in the bilateral relationship for Pakistan. The closure of the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad and disruption of trade across the border are unwelcome distractions. While such unfortunate incidents can usually be contained, in a deteriorating security and political climate matters can quickly escalate. Moreover, Afghanistan should pay heed to Pakistan’s legitimate security interests in fencing large parts of the border and seeking the dismantling of anti-Pakistan militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

There is no easy road to regional peace; if there were, it would have been taken by now. But purposeful diplomacy and security cooperation can help achieve success.

Dr Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi The 13th President of Pakistan

Dr Alvi is a politician, dentist and parliamentarian. He has been described as the “chief whip of the PTI” in his profile on the party’s website.

Born in Karachi on July 29, 1949, Dr Alvi is the son of Dr Habibur Rehman Elahi Alvi, the dentist of Jawaharlal Nehru. His father migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and operated a dental clinic in Saddar, Karachi.

Dr Alvi acquired a degree in dentistry from de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of the University of the Punjab, Lahore, and then completed his master’s in prosthodontics (fixing or replacing teeth) and orthodontics (straightening teeth to improve alignment). He was the first Pakistani to specialise in orthodontics.

In 1995, Dr Alvi was certified by the Diplomate American Board of Orthodontists and became the only Pakistani or SAARC dentist to have achieved this level of qualification.

Dr Alvi, who is one of the founding members of the PTI, started his political career as the president of the student union at de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry in Lahore.

He was an active member of the student movements of the Jamaat-e-Islami during the tenure of General Ayub Khan. Dr Alvi was shot twice during one of the protests on Lahore’s Mall Road at the time. One of the bullets is still embedded in his right arm.

When Imran Khan started the PTI in 1996, Dr Alvi joined him, beginning his long career with the PTI.

He contested the 1997 election for the Sindh Assembly PS-89 seat but lost to PML-N candidate Saleem Zia. In the same year, he was appointed the party’s Sindh chapter president.

In 2002, he lost the election on PS-90 to MMA’s Umar Sadiq. Despite losing, he was made the party’s secretary general in 2006, a post he served on till 2013.

In 2013, Dr Alvi was elected to the National Assembly from NA-250, beating the MQM’s Khushbakht Shujaat. He was appointed the PTI’s Sindh president again in 2016.

During the General Election 2018, he was victorious from Karachi’s NA-247.

He is married to Samina Alvi and both have four children.

Dr Alvi is the first Pakistan-born president of the country.

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)

World’s longest sea route begins from Pakistan

The longest possible straight line boat journey in the world will surprisingly connect southern Pakistan with eastern Russia – in a perfectly straight line. The journey will involve a ship or boat traveling perfectly straight and not hitting any land for a whopping 32,090.3 km.

Over land, the longest possible straight line journey without crossing over a sea was found to be an 11,241 km route that crosses 15 countries, starting at the town of Sagres in western Portugal and going straight to Quanzhou in eastern China. There is, however, no straight road that will make this journey possible.

In full, the journey would take a boat from the sandy shores near Sonmiani, Pakistan, down through the gap between Madagascar and continental Africa, threading the needle between South America and Antarctica, and finally heading north-northwest across the Pacific Ocean while dodging the Alaskan archipelago until landing on the frigid beaches of the Karaginsky District in Russia.

INTERNATIONAL

Aug 16: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed appointed Dahir Adan Ilmi the country’s new army chief.

Aug 16: Malaysia’s parliament repealed a law against “fake news” introduced by the administration of former PM Razak.

Aug 16: Noted American singer Aretha Franklin, the music icon known as the “Queen of Soul,” died. She was 76.

Aug 16: Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won re-election with 67 percent of the vote.

Aug 16: Former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died. He was 93.

Aug 17: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named senior policy adviser Brian Hook as Washington’s special representative for Iran.

Hook will lead the Iran Action Group to coordinate the State Department’s pressure campaign on Iran.

Aug 18: The 18th Asian Games started in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Aug 18: Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan died at the age of 80.

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)Aug 18: Belarus’s strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko sacked his prime minister Andrei Kobyakov and other key members of government following a corruption scandal.

Aug 19: Iraq’s Supreme Court ratified the results of the May 12 parliamentary elections.

Aug 20: A sea of nearly 2.4 million pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat to listen to the Hajj sermon, the climax of Hajj.

Aug 20: Novak Djokovic beat his nemesis Roger Federer to clinch his first Western & Southern Open championship (the Rookwood Cup) to become the first player to complete the sweep of Masters series tournaments.

In the women’s bracket, Kiki Bertens claimed victory in her first hard-court final.

Aug 20: Iran unveiled its first domestic fighter jet, ‘Kowsar’, a fourth-generation fighter.

Aug 24: Equatorial Guinea’s lawmakers were banned from foreign travel unless authorized by Vice President Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the president’s son.

Aug 24: A South Korean appeals court extended ex-president Park Geun-hye’s prison sentence for corruption and abuse of power by one year.

Aug 24: Spain’s Socialist government passed a decree allowing the exhumation of the remains of Francisco Franco from his vast mausoleum.

Aug 24: Scott Morrison was elected as Australia’s 30th prime minister.

Aug 24: First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima, 26, became the first female fighter pilot of Japan Air Self Defence Force.

Aug 24: Veteran Indian journalist and a missionary of peace with Pakistan, Kuldip Nayar, died. He was 95.

Aug 25: The United States cancelled more than $200 million in aid for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Aug 25: Iran’s Olympic champion Sohrab Moradi broke weightlifting’s longest standing world record in the men’s 94-kilogram class at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Moradi, 29, hoisted 189-kilograms in the competition’s opening discipline to better the snatch record set at 188 kilos in 1999 by a Greek weightlifter Akakios Kakiasvilis.

Moradi now has a complete set of 94kg world records that will remain on the books forever.

Aug 26: The Iranian parliament removed the minister of economic affairs and finance, Masoud Karbasian, from office.

Aug 26: Emmerson Mnangagwa was officially sworn in as president of Zimbabwe.

Aug 26: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appointed Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan ambassador to the United States, his new National Security Adviser (NSA).

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)

Aug 27: The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar issued its report in which the investigators said that Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law.

The UN panel was led by former Indonesian attorney-general Marzuki Darusman.

What is genocide?

The United Nations defines genocide as acts meant to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group in whole or in part. Such a designation is rare under international law, but has been used in countries including Bosnia and Sudan and in the Islamic State campaign against the Yazidi communities in Iraq and Syria.

Aug 29: Thai boxer Wanheng Menayothin grabbed his 51st straight victory in a bout against a fighter from the Philippines, defending his WBC title and surpassing the undefeated record of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Aug 30: Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders cancelled a planned cartoon contest.

Aug 30: Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi sworn in Manal Awad Mikhail as governor of Damietta province. She is the first-ever Coptic Christian woman to hold the position.

Aug 31: Japan beat India to claim the Asian Games women’s hockey title.

Aug 31: The United States announced to halt funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates in the occupied territories as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

UNRWA: Top 10 Facts

1. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees.
2. The Agency began operations on 1st May 1950.
3. Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, healthcare and social services to the population it supports.
4. Aid is provided in 5 areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
5. Aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.
6. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States.
7. UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.
8. It is the largest agency of the United Nations, employing over 30,000 staff, 99% of which are locally recruited Palestinians.
9. The Commissioner-General is responsible for managing Agency’s overall activities.
10. UNRWA’s current Commissioner-General is the Swiss Pierre Krähenbühl, who succeeded Italian national Filippo Grandi on 30 March 2014.

Sep 01: Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, a Dutch former defence minister, was named special representative and will head up the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a mission which plays an essential role in the country’s political and economic spheres.

About UNAMI

1. UNAMI was established through the UNSC Resolution 1500 on 14 August 2003, at the request of the Iraqi government, and the mission was expanded four years later.
2. It advises the government on matters including political dialogue and reconciliation, in addition to helping with elections and facilitating dialogue between Iraq and neighbouring countries.
3. UNAMI is headed by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, who is supported by two deputies.
4. The current mandate of UNAMI was extended to 31 May 2019 under UNSC Resolution 2421, adopted on 14 June 2018.

Sep 01: Brazil’s top electoral court barred jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in October’s presidential elections because of his corruption conviction.

Sep 02: General Austin Scott Miller of the US Army, the 17th commander to lead the NATO and United States forces in Afghanistan in what has become America’s longest war, took charge of his command.

Rikako Ikee: The First Female MVP

On Sep 02, Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee became the first female athlete to be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at an Asian Games, after the teenager scooped an unprecedented six gold medals in the Jakarta pool.

Only North Korean shooter So Gin-man, who won seven golds and a silver at New Delhi in 1982, has won more titles at one Asian Games but the 18-year-old Ikee also picked up two relay silvers to match his record tally of eight medals.

All six golds were achieved in Games record times and her achievement was made all the more remarkable as she arrived in Jakarta immediately after the Pan Pacific championships, where she won a gold, two silvers and a bronze.

Ikee, whose gold medal haul is the most for a female athlete at a single Games, was the unanimous choice for the most valuable player award.

Ikee became the fourth Japanese athlete to win the award since its inception at the 1998 Bangkok Games and can now be expected to shoulder a huge burden of expectations when Tokyo hosts the Olympics in two years’ time.

Sep 02: England defeated India to win the fourth Test and the 5-match series.

Sep 02: The 18th Asian Games closed in a glittering ceremony in Jakarta. This edition of pan-continental mega sporting event was held from August 18 to September 2, 2018 in two cities – Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) and Palembang (capital of Indonesia’s province of South Sumatra).

About Asian Games

1. Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is a Pan-continental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia.
2. The Asiad were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, until the 1978 Games.
3. Since the 1982 Games, they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation.
4. The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.
5. While Indonesia hosted the Asian Games for the second time, after the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962, it was the first time that the games were hosted by two cities together.
6. Pakistan could secure 34th position as country’s athletes managed to win only four bronze medals in 2018 Asian Games, as compared to one gold, one silver and three bronze medals at 2014 Asian Games.
7. 18th Asian Games saw participation of around 11,000 athletes from 45 countries from across Asian continent, who competed in 40 sports, 67 disciplines, 4 new Olympic sports and 8 non-Olympic sports.

Sep 03: Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet took the helm of the UN human rights office. Bachelet was chosen by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to succeed Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan and the appointment was approved by the UN GA in August.

Sep 03: Two Reuters journalists – Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 – accused of breaching Myanmar’s state secrets law while reporting on a massacre of Rohingya Muslims were jailed for seven years.

Sep 03: Jalaluddin Haqqani, a veteran Afghan resistance commander and America’s bête noire, died.

Sep 04: The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) concluded in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. At the end of the summit, The Beijing Declaration – Toward an Even Stronger China – Africa Community with a Shared Future and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) were adopted.

This year marked the 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting between China and African leaders.

About FOCAC

Initiated in 2000, FOCAC is a triennial meeting where both sides review and set targets for the relationship. The 2018 Beijing gathering is the third FOCAC meeting to be held at summit level; the previous two summits were held in Beijing (2006) and Johannesburg (2015). The other FOCAC meetings (2000, 2003, 2009, 2012) were held at ministerial level.

This FOCAC Summit took place amid alarm over a potential trade war between China and the US, who has retreated as a leading voice in multilateral platforms and issues like climate change. Yet China’s President, Xi Jinping, took the opportunity at the Summit to raise concern over protectionism and rising unilateralism. China’s commitment to the multilateral system and globalisation was evident through the inclusion of the United Nations at FOCAC.

Sep 05: Paraguay announced to move its embassy in Israel back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Sep 05: Dennis Green, the first Australian to compete at five Olympic Games, died. He was 87.

Sep 06: Facebook removed a feature that allowed users to translate Burmese posts and comments after a Reuters report showed the tool was producing bizarre results.

Sep 06: India’s top court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex, in a landmark judgment that sparked celebrations across India and elsewhere in South Asia, where activists hope to push for similar reform.

Sep 06: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis held 2+2 dialogue with their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman.

Sep 07: China allowed Nepal the use of four Chinese ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang.

China also agreed to allow Nepal use its dry (land) ports at Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse as well as roads to these facilities.

About the Deal

1. Wedged between China and India, Nepal depends heavily on India for the supply of essential goods including fuel and the use of its ports for trade with other countries.
2. Nepal’s overland trade is now routed mainly through the east Indian port of Kolkata which takes up to three months. New Delhi has also opened the southern port at Vishakhapatnam for Nepali trade.
3. But Kathmandu has sought access to Chinese ports to reduce dependence on India since a prolonged blockade of its border crossings with India in 2015 and 2016 left the country short of fuel and medicine for several months.
4. China is making fast inroads into Nepal with aid and investment, challenging India’s long-held position as the dominant outside power.
5. Beijing and Kathmandu are also in talks for building a railway link into Nepal, constructing an electric transmission line and are conducting a feasibility study for a free trade agreement.

Sep 07: The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Tehran to discuss the war in Syria to discuss a possible military offensive to retake the last rebel-held bastion of Idlib.

The summit, however, ended without an agreement as Turkish ceasefire push was rejected by Russia and Iran.

Sep 08: An Egyptian court sentenced 75 people to death, including top leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, for their involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest.

Sep 09: The week-long UN Climate Change talks were held in Bangkok, Thailand. One week of intense climate talks in Bangkok was expected to deliver significant progress in the UN climate change negotiations. However, developing countries rounded on the United States and its allies at the talks, accusing the world’s richest nations of stalling a deal aimed at preventing runaway global warming.

Sep 09: Naomi Osaka became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion after she beat Serena Williams in the US Open final.

Sep 09: Italian Andrea Dovizioso won the San Marino Grand Prix for Ducati while reigning world champion Marc Marquez finished second.

Sep 10: England’s most-capped Test player and record run scorer Alastair Cook retired from cricket. He made his 291st and the final Test innings memorable with a century.

Sep 11: Russia began its biggest war games – the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) – since the fall of the Soviet Union close to its border with China, mobilizing 300,000 troops in a show of force that included joint exercises with the Chinese army.

About Vostok-2018

Vostok-2018 took place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia. NATO announced to monitor the exercise closely, as did the United States which has a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The huge military operation included 36,000 tanks, more than 1,000 aircraft and 80 navy vessels, according to Russia’s defence minister.

The drills took place in the country’s far-east – Vostok means “East” – and saw close collaborations among ground, air and specialist units as well as the deployment of reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

Sep 11: England beat India by 118 runs in their final Test of the ongoing series. James Anderson took his 564th wicket in Test cricket, surpassing Australia’s Glenn McGrath as the most successful fast bowler of all time.

Sep 11: Two land border crossings between Ethiopia and Eritrea were reopened for the first time in 20 years.

Sep 11: The United States imposed sanctions on Nikola Spiric, a Serb deputy in Bosnia’s national parliament, over his involvement in “significant” corruption.

Sep 13: The United Nations listed India and Israel, two best allies, among 38 shameful countries, which had carried out reprisals or intimidation against people cooperating with it on human rights, through killings, torture and arbitrary arrests. Allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalisation, and public stigmatization campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders were also included on the list.

Sep 13: The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, eastern France, ruled against the British government’s mass electronic surveillance system by saying that the so-called ‘Big Brother’ programme violated privacy and free speech.

Sep 14: India’s Department of Justice appointed Ranjan Gogoi the chief justice of India with effect from Oct 3. He succeeded Justice Dipak Misra who had been the target of unprecedented criticism this year from politicians and judges, including Gogoi himself.

Sep 15: NASA launched its most advanced space laser ever, the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2. Orbiting the Earth every 91 days, the ICESat-2 will measure melting ice, possibly providing clues to climate change. It will direct six lasers at sheets of ice and glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctica to gather data on how they are changing. The smart-car-sized laser tool, known as the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, will be able to measure ice height and slope.

Sep 15: The Iraqi parliament elected Mohammed al-Halbusi as its speaker, paving the way for the formation of a government more than four months after legislative polls. Born in 1981, Halbusi will be the youngest speaker in Iraq’s history.

In Iraq, the speaker of parliament is always Sunni Arab while the prime minister is picked from the country’s Shiite majority and the president is a Kurd. Parliamentary coalitions – which bring together lists of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to form the largest group – must agree on the selection of the three positions.

World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)



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