World in Focus (Dec 2013 – Jan 2014)

World in Focus Dec 2013 – Jan 2014

News from National & International Press

National

Dec 16: The National Assembly passed a resolution voicing concerns over the hanging of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah for aiding the Pakistan Army in the 1971 war.

Dec 16: Islamabad High Court suspended the sacking of Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed, Chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.

Dec 17: Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali became the first Pakistani mountaineers to summit the 6,961-metre high Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak of South America.

Dec 17: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Balochistan, banned relay of programmes of popular Afghan television channels by cable operators.

Dec 17: The government and the armed forces agreed on strategy for the national security that prioritises talks with the Taliban and envisages enhanced security on the Afghan border.

Dec 17: The government appointed Maroof Afzal as the new chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Dec 18: The German government through its embassy in Islamabad announced 200 scholarships for the Pakistani students of graduate and under-graduate level through the HEC-German Needs-Based Scholarship Programme.

The programme will be open for the students of 10 universities in selected disciplines of Social Sciences, Basic Sciences, Engineering and Information Technology.

Dec 18: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the inauguration of the manufacturing of Block 2 of JF-17 Thunder at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra.
Block 2 jets come with air-to-air refuelling capability, improved avionics, enhanced load carrying capacity, better weapon carriage and enhanced data link and electronic warfare capabilities.

Dec 18: The Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Sher Ali Gorchani, handed over relief goods worth Rs. 100 million to the Balochistan government on behalf of the Punjab government.

Dec 18: The Fata Tribunal, comprising its chairman Shah Wali Khan and members Pir Fida Muhammad and Akbar Khan, overturned the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) commissioner’s decision in the appeal of Dr Shakil Afridi and directed him to review the previous decision and pass a detailed and well-reasoned order in the case.

Dec 18: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued the No Objection Certificate (NoC) to the Turkish rental power ship Karkey to leave a Pakistani port; setting aside the Supreme Court judgment that had clearly ordered the collection of $128 million before the ship was allowed to go.

Dec 18: A divisional bench of the Lahore High Court restrained the Nadra from verifying thumb impressions of votes cast in NA-118 in general elections.

Dec 18: France, in collaboration with the European Union, signed a grant funding agreement for the establishment of Pakistan Hydropower Training Institute (HPIT) at Mangla. This grant was delegated to the AFD (French development agency) by the European Union.

Dec 19: The government issued a notification for appointment of Aizaz Chaudhry as foreign secretary.

Dec 19: MNA Mir Amir Ali Khan Magsi was elected as Chairman of Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Department.

Dec 20: President Mamnoon Hussain conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) on Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Rashad Mehmood and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif in recognition of their “long, meritorious services”.


Dec 20:
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) restored Tahir Mehmood as Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR).

Dec 20: Pakistan was named the largest refugee-hosting country in the world with 2.6 million refugees from Afghanistan and more constantly flooding.

Dec 23: Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) launched the ‘Safe and Secure Taxi service’ in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Dec 23: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) saved its own Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in an inquiry into the Rs. 6 billion NICL scam, but ordered a formal investigation against former Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Dec 23: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif named Lt Gen Obaidullah Khan as the commander of the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (ASFC).

Dec 23: China’s Export Import Bank agreed paying, from January 2014, the much-awaited credit of $448 million to Pakistan for the Rs. 278 billion Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project to produce 969 MW of power.

Dec 23: The 2013 World Population Data Sheet issued by the US Population Reference Bureau ranked Pakistan as the sixth most populous country of the world.
List
Rank    Country     Population
1    China     1,357 million
2    India     1,277 million
3    USA     316 million
4    Indonesia     249 million
5    Brazil     196 million
6    Pakistan     191 million

Dec 24: At a meeting of the directors general of military operations (DGMOs) of the two countries, Pakistan and India pledged to uphold the 2003 Line of Control (LoC) ceasefire accord which had been left in tatters by repeated violations this year. The two countries agreed to a number of steps to keep the ceasefire accord intact.

Dec 24: Pakistan and Turkey agreed to bolster their cooperation in areas of defence and counter-terrorism.

Dec 24: The Supreme Court of Pakistan hired the services of Muhammad Hamid Ali on deputation basis as Secretary to Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Dec 24: The PML-N government inducted many of its main critics of the handling of the economy into the Economic Advisory Council which was reconstituted by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The newly formed council now includes: Dr Ishrat Husain Dean and Director Institute of Business Administration Karachi, Dr Ijaz Nabi Dean School of Humanities Social Sciences and Law LUMS, Abid Hasan Farooq Rahmatullah (Energy), Zubair Soomro, Banking, Shafqat Ali Jamoot Agriculturist Businessman, Arshad Zubairi, Business Recorder, Farrakh Qayyum, Dr Sania Nishtar CEO Heart File, Dr Ashfaq Hassan Khan Dean and Professor (Economics) NUST, Akbar Zaidi Muslahuddin PIDE, Farrukh Saleem media analyst, Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri SDPI, Saqib Sherani, Qazi Azmat Essa CEO Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Chairman Board of Investment, Governor SBP and Chairman FBR.

Dec 26: A parliamentary committee and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) agreed that the local bodies’ elections are not possible in Sindh and Punjab as per schedule.

Dec 26: Pakistan Post issued a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 10 denomination on Perveen Shakir’s 19th death anniversary.

Dec 27: The Pakistan Post issued a commemorative stamp on the 150 years of the faithful service of Pakistan Bible Society. This stamp of Rs. 8 denomination is designed by Liaquat Ali.

Dec 27: Salahuddin Mengal assumed charge as the prosecutor general of Balochistan.

Dec 27: The Foreign Office could get the building of its own after 66 years of independence of the country as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unveiled plaque of the new block that has been named after former Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan.

The new compound is situated adjacent to present building of the Foreign Office that was Sheharzad Hotel till early 70’s and later converted into the Foreign Office.

Dec 28: Reports suggest that there are only 120 qualified neurologists in Pakistan for the population of 180 million hence the ratio comes to 1:1.5 million people.

Dec 28: The Election Commission of Pakistan with the support of the National Database and Registration Authority tested biometric system for voter verification by holding mock polling in two local councils of Peshawar district.

Dec 28: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) signed a memorandum of understanding under which the BISP will give six-month skill training to the youth recommended by KPCCI under its Wasila-e-Rozgar scheme.

Dec 29: Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif approved a summary to hand over control of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

Dec 29: The third phase of Karachi the targeted operation against extortionists, kidnappers for ransom, terrorists and criminals was approved at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Dec 31: The Lahore High Court annulled the delimitation carried out for local government elections in Punjab and directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to undo the exercise in conformity with the constitution.

Jan 01: The first-ever national Police Shuhada Day was observed at Police Line Headquarters Islamabad.

Jan 01: Nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has dissolved his political party Tehreek Tahaffuz-i-Pakistan after it could not get much support in the general elections.

Jan 01: Under the directives of the Prime Minister‚ the guarantor’s conditions for the Youth Business Loan Scheme have been eased. Now any person including blood relatives and family member having net worth of 1.5 times the loan‚ can give the guarantee. Any grade-15 or above government officer with eight or more years remaining services can be a guarantor. More than one person with cumulative net worth of more than 1.5 times the loan can give guarantees on single loan application. Anyone with net worth more than 1.5 times the loan can give his own guarantee. The condition of the applicants’ bank account in National Bank of Pakistan has also been waived off and now the applicants’ bank account can be in any bank.

Jan 02: Muzaffargarh and Ahmadpur East were selected as sites for new nuclear power plants, according to PAEC Chairman Dr Ansar Parvez.

Jan 03: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief Altaf Hussain chastised the Sindh government for what he called its discriminatory attitude towards the second largest majority in the province urban population and said if the PPP and Sindhi nationalists did not consider Urdu-speaking Sindhis as ‘full’ Sindhis, then a separate province should be created for the urban people.

Jan 03: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch declared ‘education emergency’ in the province.

Jan 04: Widow of Khan Abdul Wali Khan and veteran politician Begum Nasim Wali Khan announced formation of Bacha Khan Awami Party to provide a platform to all those wishing to strive for the rights of Pakhtuns.

Jan 04: The government appointed Karachi-based industrialist Dr Miftah Ismail as chairman Board of Investment (BoI).

Jan 04: Prime Minister appointed Javed Malik as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Overseas, Investment & Trade and designated him to the rank of Ambassador of Pakistan.


Jan 06:
The Punjab government launched a free official repository of online, digitized science textbooks of class-IX and X augmented with videos, animations and simulations to enhance conceptual learning and improve quality of education.

Jan 06: Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk was named as the next chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court. He would replace Justice Dost Muhammad whose name was proposed for appointment as judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Jan 07: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal’s visit to Pakistan, agreed to deepen their defence cooperation and support each other’s position on regional issues, including Syria and Afghanistan.

Jan 07: The provincial assembly unanimously passed the much-propagated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission Bill, 2013, which provides for the establishment of a five-member Ehtesab Commission and appointment of a director general for preventing corruption and corrupt practices and to hold accountable all public officeholders for these practices.

Jan 07: The US Department of State declared Qari Saifullah, a Quetta-based Taliban commander, a specially-designated global terrorist.
Qari Saifullah is the Taliban’s shadow deputy governor and an operational commander in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, but the designation identifies him as a resident of Quetta.

Jan 07: The district administration constituted the Lyallpur Heritage Foundation (LHF) to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of Faisalabad.

Jan 08: The board of directors of the Privatisation Commission resolved to divest minimum of 26 per cent shares of the Pakistan International Airlines.

Jan 08: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet allowed import of petroleum coke (pet coke) from India for cement industry by road and took a notice of an increase in fertiliser prices.

Jan 10: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Tariq Malik resigned.

Jan 10: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recommended conferment of Sitara-i-Shujaat posthumously on Aitezaz Hussain, a 15-year-old boy of Hangu who sacrificed his life to save hundreds of his school fellows.

Jan 10: Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) directed Yusra Medical and Dental College, Islamabad and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College Mirpur AJK to stop admissions for the year 2014-15 due to lack of facilities and other deficiencies.

Jan 10: Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani ordered a wing at Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court to address the overseas Pakistanis issues in their homeland.

Jan 10: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police made Elite Force training compulsory for all lower course passed constables and new probationer assistant sub-inspectors.

Jan 10: Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, took charge of the National Assembly’s Kashmir Committee.

Jan 10: Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) once again amended its recently revised criteria for short-listing of candidates, on the basis of their academic record, in order to allow them for written examination.

The PPSC through partial modification on December 15, 2013, published in the newspapers, had announced that only short-listed candidates as per post-to-candidate ratio of 1:30 would be called for the written test.

Jan 10: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) launched USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programme for the financially disadvantaged students to study Business Administration, Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences, Social Sciences, Medical/Nursing and Engineering & Technology Programmes.

Jan 10: Attorney General Munir A. Malik resigned from his post.

Jan 10: The Sindh government appointed Sher Muhammad Shaikh as prosecutor general on contract basis for three months.

Jan 11: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) modified the schedule for local government elections in Sindh and Punjab.

Jan 11: Advocate General for Sindh Khalid Javed Khan tendered his resignation from his office.

Jan 11: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has approved the change of the name of the garments industrial zone as “Punjab Apparel Park” whereas a Board of Management has also been constituted for running the affairs of the park.

Jan 13: The Supreme Court allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan to withdraw the local government elections schedules for Punjab and Sindh and announce new dates after completing prerequisites.

Jan 13: The government sent Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) Tahir Mahmood on forced leave and replaced him with Ghuzanfar Ali Jilani.

Jan 15: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the establishment of a ‘brigade-level’ cantonment for Swat and Malakand areas. The proposed cantonment will house three to four infantry battalions comprising around 3,000 personnel.

Jan 15: Senior British diplomat Philip Barton arrived in Islamabad to take up his position as United Kingdom’s High Commissioner. Mr Barton has replaced Sir Adam Thomson.

Jan 15: Imtiaz Tajwar, an additional secretary at the interior ministry, was appointed acting chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority by Nadra’s board.

Jan 15: The federal government dismissed Khaqan Murtaza from his post as Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan and the Ministry of Industries and Production handed over his services to the Establishment Division.

International

Dec 16: Russia moved nuclear-capable Iskander missiles, which have a maximum range of about 400 kilometers, or 250 miles, and are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear payloads, closer to Europe’s borders in response to the US-led deployment of a disputed air defence shield.

Dec 16: South Sudan President Salva Kiir said in a televised address to the nation that the military had foiled a coup orchestrated by ‘a group of soldiers’ allied with the former vice president.


Dec 16:
The United Nations called on the international community to come up with a record $13 billion in funding to reach millions of people with lifesaving aid in 2014, with half of the aid ($6.8 billion) to meet the needs of Syrian people affected by the ongoing civil strife.

Dec 16: A central Indian state, Maharashtra, passed a new legislation which aims at prosecuting those who use beliefs and superstitions to defraud or physically harm followers.

Dec 16: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved a new anti-terrorism draft law that criminalizes acts that disturb public order, defame the reputation of the state or threaten the kingdom’s unity.

Dec 16: The last remaining Australian combat troops in Afghanistan were headed home, as Australia’s military involvement in the 12-year conflict draws to a close.

Dec 16: The European Union broke off talks with Ukraine on the far-reaching trade deal that antigovernment demonstrators in the country here have been demanding for weeks.

Dec 16: Chilean voters handed a landslide victory to Michelle Bachelet, returning her to the presidency. Ms Bachelet received about 62 per cent of the vote.

Dec 17: Bangladesh’s foreign Ministry summoned Pakistan’s high commissioner in Dhaka and handed him at Aide Memoire condemning a resolution of the National Assembly of Pakistan on war criminal Quader Molla’s execution.

Dec 17: Germany’s parliament elected Angela Merkel as chancellor for a third term. Merkel, 59, who is now set to govern Europe’s top economy for another four years, was re-elected by 462 members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Dec 17: Russia agreed a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and slashed the price of gas exports. Putin’s agreement with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is being seen as a triumph for the Russian leader in a geopolitical battle with Europe.

Dec 17: India’s upper house of parliament passed a long-delayed bill to combat graft. The ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) voted in favour of the tough bill.

Dec 17: The US Senate easily confirmed Jeh Johnson, a former top Pentagon lawyer, to be the next head of the Department of Homeland Security. Johnson will be the first African-American to lead the department, and only the fourth person to head DHS since it was created by then-president George W Bush in 2002, one year after the 9/11 attacks.

Dec 18: Dionyssis Liakopoulos, and Christos Steriopoulos, two suspected members of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn went on trial accused of stabbing a 27-year-old Pakistani man, Shehzad Luqman, to death.

Dec 18: European Union’s 28 member states agreed to tighten rules for companies hiring accountants to improve bookkeeping quality in the wake of the financial crisis, the bloc’s presidency Lithuania said in a statement.

Dec 18: India’s parliament voted to create a new anti-corruption watchdog to scrutinise politicians and civil servants.

Dec 18: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation tapped chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, — the foundation’s first chief executive from outside Microsoft, the technology company co-founded by Bill Gates —as chief executive of the giant charitable organization. She will succeed Jeff Raikes.

Dec 19: The UN General Assembly adopted a 28-paragraph resolution calling on states using drone strikes as a counter-terrorism measure to comply with international law.

The unanimous call for regulating the use of remotely piloted aircraft against suspected terrorists was contained in a comprehensive, titled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism”.

Dec 19: An Egyptian court acquitted Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister and presidential candidate, and two sons of ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, of corruption charges.

Dec 19: The European Union struck a historical deal on a banking union aimed at preventing a repeat of the eurozone’s crippling crises of the past.

Dec 20: The US Congress passed a $552 billion defence authorisation bill for 2014, which also calls for stopping reimbursements to Pakistan if ground supply routes to Afghanistan are interrupted.

The bill provides $80.7bn for operations in Afghanistan and $1.5bn for reimbursements to Pakistan in 2014, when the United States plans to withdraw most of its combat troops from the region.

Dec 21: Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete sacked four government ministers following accusations of abuses committed by security forces during a huge operation against wildlife poaching.

Dec 21: Uganda’s parliament adopted an anti-homosexuality bill that will see repeat offenders jailed for life.

Dec 23: Russia released the two jailed members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, whose imprisonment prompted a wave of global outrage.

Dec 23: Libya’s General National Congress, the country’s highest political authority, extended its mandate until the end of next year.

Dec 23: Former Labour MP Denis MacShane was jailed for six months for false accounting after admitting making bogus parliamentary expenses claims worth nearly 13,000 pounds.

Dec 24: Russia accused the European Union of violating global free trade measures in its first complaint before the World Trade Organisation.

Dec 24: The Indian government’s request to accredit its diplomat, Ms Devyani Khobragade, at the centre of a spat with the United States, was approved by the United Nations. She was charged with lying on the visa application of her maid servant.

Dec 25: Egypt’s military-installed rulers declared the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted president Mohamed Morsi a ‘terrorist’ organisation, after blaming it for a deadly police station bombing claimed by militants.

Dec 25: Three top Turkish ministers resigned over a high-level graft probe, with one of them calling on the prime minister to step down. It marks the first time Erdogan has faced such a challenge from a minister in his own Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Dec 26: The UN refugee agency chief, Antonio Guterres, condemned the British prime minister, David Cameron’s proposed immigration laws over fears they could stigmatise foreigners, deny housing to people in need and create a “climate of ethnic profiling”.

Dec 26: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects at a shrine honoruing Japan’s war dead in a move that drew sharp rebukes from China and South Korea.

Dec 26: An Indian court upheld the result of an investigation that cleared Gujarat state chief minister and a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi, of complicity in riots in 2002.

Dec 26: The United States is quietly rushing dozens of Hellfire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces combat an explosion of violence by a Qaeda-backed insurgency that is gaining territory in both western Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Dec 27: Japan’s Okinawa approved the long-stalled relocation of a controversial US military base.

Dec 27: South Sudan’s government agreed at a meeting of East African leaders to end hostilities against rebels accused of trying to overthrow the young country.

Dec 27: A US federal judge in New York ruled that the massive collection of domestic telephone data by the US National Security Agency is lawful, rejecting the American Civil Liberties Union’s plea to declare it illegal.

Dec 27: Former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah was killed in a massive bomb blast.

Dec 28: Anti-corruption icon Arvind Kejriwal took over as the 7th chief minister of Delhi after taking a commuter train to the Ramlila Grounds where he was administered the oath of office.

Dec 29: Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion — the largest assistance provided in Lebanon’s history — for the Lebanese army to buy equipment from France.

Dec 29: Gunmen killed two peacekeepers, one from Jordan and one from Senegal, in an attack on a UN patrol in Sudan’s conflict-stricken Darfur.

Dec 30: A suicide bomber killed 14 people aboard an electric bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. The event highlights the terrorist threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host Winter Games in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin’s pet project.

Dec 31: Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha became the Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief of Air Staff replacing Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne. The new chief of the IAF stated distinctions are among other qualifications his doing Strategic Nuclear Orientation Course and experience of commanding Central Air Command and Western Air Command (WAC).

Jan 01: Greece began a six-month stint as president of the European Union.

Greece takes the reins of the EU “with a keen sense of its responsibility to its EU partners and all European citizens,” said Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Jan 01: Five new non-permanent members of UN Security Council, Jordan, Lithuania, Chile, Chad and Nigeria joined the most powerful organ of the world body. They replaced Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco and Togo, whose two-year term expired on December 31.

The seats for the 10 non-permanent members are filled from regional groupings for two-year terms. Five are replaced every year.

Jan 01: The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamal al Jamal, was killed by a blast in his Prague residence, police said, ruling out a terrorist attack.

Jan 02: Al-Qaeda-linked militants came in control of more than half of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi.

Jan 02: The commander of government troops fighting Ugandan Islamist rebels in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo was killed in an ambush.

Jan 03: South Sudan’s warring parties began negotiations to end raging conflict which has left thousands feared dead and taken the world`s youngest nation to the brink of all-out civil war.

Jan 04: Tunisia’s assembly adopted Article 1 of the new constitution, establishing the republic and Islam as its religion but rejecting amendments that the Quran be the “main” source of law.

Jan 05: India successfully launched its first rocket using domestically produced booster technology after several previous missions had failed.

The Indian-made cryogenically-powered rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota.

Jan 05: India’s biggest ship, aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was acquired from Russia in November, finally arrived in the Indian Navy’s Area of Operation in the Arabian Sea after a long voyage.

The much-awaited $2.3 billion ship is being escorted by other ships of India’s western fleet and is headed to the Indian Navy’s base at Karwar on the western coast.

Jan 06: Ahmad al-Jarba was re-elected as the leader of the Western-backed Syrian opposition for a second six-month term defeating former Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab.

Jan 07: Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for free trade talks.

Jan 07: Natural disasters, led by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Europe, cost a total of $125 billion (92bn euros) in 2013, German reinsurance giant Munich Re estimated.

Jan 07: India test-fired indigenously developed Prithvi II missile, which is capable of carrying warheads of 500 kg to 1,000 kg and has a strike range of 350 km.

Jan 10: Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia stepped down under regional pressure after failing to stem sectarian violence ripping his country apart. His resignation sparked an immediate eruption of joy in the capital Bangui.

Jan 10: Iran’s talks with the European Union ended with an agreement over outstanding issues about the practical details of implementing a nuclear agreement.

Jan 12: Sheikh Hasina was sworn in for a third spell as Bangladesh’s prime minister after a deadly general election boycotted by the opposition amid an ongoing political crisis. President Abdul Hamid administered the oath.

Jan 13: Central African Republic’s new interim leader deployed more soldiers in the capital Bangui with orders to shoot troublemakers in an attempt to end months of religiously-fuelled violence.

Jan 13: Former Bangladesh military ruler and President of the country Hussain Muhammad Ershad was appointed as a special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the rank and status of a cabinet minister.

Jan 15: A fundraising conference in Kuwait generated at least $2.4 billion in pledges from international donors to alleviate the suffering of Syrians affected by their country`s civil war, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

SPORTS

Dec 16: Australian batsman George Bailey equalled Brian Lara’s Test record for most runs off an over by hitting 28 runs off English pace-man Jimmy Anderson.

Dec 16: Andy Murray, the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon, claimed the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Dec 16: West Indian bowler Shane Shillingford was suspended from bowling in international cricket after the ICC declared his bowling action ‘illegal’.

Dec 18: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were declared the International Tennis Federation’s World Champions for 2013. Djokovic captured the men’s award for the third successive year, and Serena took the honour for the fourth time.

Dec 21: The official launch of the logo of Punjab Youth Festival (PYF) 2014 took place at the newly-built multi-purpose gymnasium hall of Sports Board Punjab (SBP).

Dec 21: Malaysian football authorities imposed a lifetime ban on five players and three officials for match-fixing in the domestic league.

Dec 25:
Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the fourth One-day International.

Dec 25: Jacques Kallis announced retirement from Test cricket, ending the career of one of the game’s great all-rounders and South Africa’s most significant player of the modern era.

Kallis is the fourth highest run-scorer in Tests and has also taken 292 wickets in 165 matches.

Dec 25: Wapda defended the title after beating Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the final of the National Handball Championship.

Dec 27: Pakistan-origin British boxer Amir Khan was made an ambassador of Punjab sports by the Sports Board Punjab in the promotion of sports throughout the province.

Dec 29: S. M. Sibtain was ‘unanimously’ re-elected president of the Pakistan Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) for the next term of four years.

Dec 29: Jacques Kallis hit a century in his final Test match against India at Kingsmead.

Dec 29: Austria’s 32-year-old skier Marlies Schild entered the skiing history books after wining a record 35th women’s World Cup slalom at Lienz.

Dec 30: South Africa beat India by 10 wickets in the second Test at Kingsmead to win the two-match series 1-0.

Dec 31: Edwin Kipsang Rotich of Kenya won the 89th edition of the prestigious Sao Paulo international road race to retain his title.

Dec 31: Wapda won the two-day 60th National Wrestling Championships by winning gold medals in all the seven weight categories.

Jan 01: New Zealand’s Corey Anderson clubbed the fastest century in the history of One-day Internationals from 36 balls as the hosts cruised to a 159-run win over the West Indies.

Anderson hit 12 sixes and four fours to break the record by one delivery of a 37-ball century scored by Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi against Sri Lanka in Nairobi which has stood for almost 18 years.

Jan 01: Yokohama Marinos beat J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 to win the prestigious Emperor’s Cup.

Jan 01: Sindh won the title of the 12th National Women Netball Championship defeating Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the final.

Jan 04: World number one Serena Williams won the season-opening Brisbane International tennis tournament when she beat second seed Victoria Azarenka.

Jan 04: India Under-19 took home yet another piece of silver-ware this time claiming the Asia Cup by beating arch-rivals Pakistan Under-19 in final.

Jan 05: Australia completed a 5-0 Ashes clean sweep against England as the hapless tourists crumbled to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth Test in Sydney.

Jan 07: Discarded Test opener Imran Farhat became just the second Pakistani to score a triple hundred twice in first-class cricket.

Jan 15: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reinstated Zaka Ashraf as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman.

Jan 15: Cristiano Ronaldo ended the four-year dominance of Lionel Messi when he was awarded the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or in Zurich.

Jan 15: The Softball Confederation Asia (SCA) awarded the prestigious 4-nation Southwest Asia Women’s Softball Cup to Pakistan which will be staged in Karachi during September this year.

Jan 15: New Zealand inflicted a further defeat on the West Indies in their second Twenty20 international. The win gave New Zealand the Twenty20 series 2-0 to go with their 2-0 win in the Tests.

Economy

Dec 17: The Shah Deniz II consortium signed a final investment deal clearing the way for the first deliveries to Europe and opening up a key route beyond Russia. The investment triggers the start of construction of a key new pipeline route from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Six billion cubic metres of natural gas will go to Turkey and Georgia from 2018 and the rest will go to Europe from around 2019, according to the consortium which includes Britain’s BP and Azerbaijan’s SOCAR.

Dec 17: The federal government approved tax an amnesty/investment scheme according to which if the investments made in a new industry, the federal government would not ask the source of wealth provided that the investment was made on January 1, 2014 or after that.

Dec 17: British lawmakers gave their final approval to reforms aimed at tackling the structural and cultural failings which led to the near-collapse of the country’s financial sector.

Dec 17: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) entered into an agreement with Descon to convert its two open cycle plants (25MW each) to combined cycle plants.

Korangi Town Gas Turbine Power Station (KTGTPS) consisting of four Hitachi – GE Frame 5B Gas Turbines of 25MW (ISO) (20MW Site) capacity each was commissioned in 1978 in KESC fleet.

Dec 18: British banknotes will get a tough new makeover from 2016 when plastic replaces the traditional paper, enabling them to survive accidental spins in the washing machine, the Bank of England said.

Britain will be the largest economy so far to adopt the more durable polymer material for general banknotes, after 87 per cent of respondents approved the change in a public consultation.

Dec 18: The government appointed Mohammad Zubair as chairman of the Privatisation Commission with the status of state minister. He was currently serving as the Board of Investment chairman.

Dec 19: United Bank Limited (UBL) was bestowed with ‘Bank of the Year 2013 Pakistan’ award for the second consecutive year by international publication ‘The Banker’.

Dec 19: India’s cabinet has approved a scheme of interest-free loans to sugar mills, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said, as part of a bail-out package to beleaguered mills.

Dec 20: The government notified a tax amnesty scheme providing the elite of the country with incentives to whiten their black money at home and abroad. The scheme will be effective from January 1 next year to June 30, 2016.

Dec 21: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law a sweeping reform that will allow private companies to drill for oil and gas, and end a seven-decade-long monopoly held by the state oil company.

Dec 23: Apple unveiled a long-anticipated deal with China Mobile, the world’s biggest wireless carrier, to bring the iPhone to customers in a market dominated by low-cost Android smartphones.

The deal gives Apple a bigger entry into the huge Chinese market and China Mobile’s estimated 760 million subscribers. The network is also rolling out the world`s biggest 4G network.

Dec 23: Indian company Universal Biomass Energy (Pvt) Limited signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for installation of 15 mega watt (MW) biomass power plant with the Punjab government.

Dec 27: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar announced the formation of Pakistan-EU Business Forum, a move that is aimed at reaping maximum benefits from GSP Plus.

Dec 27: The traders of Afghanistan and Pakistan decided to initiate joint trading and investment ventures.

Dec 28: Turkey overtook China as the biggest buyer of US cotton, US data showed, as Chinese buyers have boosted their purchases of lower-taxed yarn and cut back on buying raw cotton.

Dec 30: Russian gas exports to Europe in 2013 jumped 16 percent year on year to reach a record high of 161.5 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Jan 04: Pakistan agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to initiate revenue-based load-shedding in the power distribution companies, taking action against tax dodgers and hiring financial advisers for the privatisation of the strategic organisations, including PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills.

Jan 06: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar established a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Secretary Commerce Qasim Niaz to resolve the 15-year trade disputes between Pakistan and Russia.

Jan 07: Islamabad and Beijing have agreed to set up an energy planning working group to help Pakistan wriggle out of its energy crisis.

Jan 10: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan approved issuance of first-ever listed Sukuk issue by the Karachi Electric Supply Company Limited (KESC) amounting to Rs. 6 billion. The Sukuk would be listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange.

Jan 10: The Punjab government signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company Shandong Ruyi Group for investment of two billion dollars in textile sector and setting up textile industry in garments industrial zone.

Jan 11: The newly constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC) identified seven areas for formulation of special policies to revive growth in overall economy.
Headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the 22-member EAC has identified power, exploration of natural resources, agriculture, social, resource mobilisation, public sector disinvestment and foreign remittances as critical areas where expertise of the members could be utilised.

Obituaries

Dec 16: Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who rose to fame during Hollywood’s golden age as the star of several Alfred Hitchcock classics, died aged 96.

Dec 17: Former Indian Test cricketer Madhusudan Rege died aged 89.

Dec 18: Great Train Ronnie Biggs, whose escape from jail and decades spent on the run made him one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, died at the age of 84.

Dec 19: Syed Muhammad Shakir Hassan, former Director of Capital Development Authority (CDA), died.

Dec 19: Eyad el-Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist who pioneered mental health care in Gaza and became an internationally recognized human rights advocate died. He was 70.

Dec 23: Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalised in the name of the world’s most popular firearm, died at 94. His most famous invention is the AK-47 assault rifle.

Dec 23: John S.D. Eisenhower, the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower who forged a reputation in his own right as a military historian, died. He was 91.

Dec 25: The Azad Janunu and Kashmir (AJK) minister for agriculture, Sardar Akhtar Hussain Rabbani, died.

Dec 28: Indian actor Farooq Sheikh, the plump and unlikely hero of many Bollywood films, died at 65.

Dec 29: Robert W. Wilson, a retired hedge-fund founder who became a major philanthropist, donating about $600 million to causes that included environmental conservation, the American Civil Liberties and Roman Catholic education, died at 87.

Dec 30: Dr Robert Neuwirth, a prominent gynaecologist who developed minimally invasive techniques that helped many women avoid hysterectomies, died. He was 80.

Jan 04: Phil Everly, half of the 1950s and ‘60s pop duo the Everly Brothers that influenced rock and country performers for decades, died at the age of 74.

Jan 05: Portuguese great Eusebio, top scorer at the 1966 World Cup, died at the age of 71.

Jan 05: Film producer Saul Zaentz, winner of best picture Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus” and “The English Patient,” died at age 92.

Jan 06: Simon Hoggart, the veteran Guardian journalist, died at the age of 67.

Jan 07: Punjabi poet Baba Khushi Muhammad Nisar, who wrote three poetry books, died at the age of 70.

Jan 07: Hong Kong media mogul Sir Run Run Shaw, who created an empire in Asia spanning movies to television, died at the age of 106.

Jan 11: Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, the trailblazing warrior-statesman who stunned Arab foes with his dramatic turnarounds, died aged 85, after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.

Jan 15: One of the pioneers of “The Pakistan Times” and a veteran newspaper archivist Mian Nizam Din passed away. He was 97.

Everyday Science

Dec 17: Atoms of noble gases like helium, neon and argon — odourless, colourless single-atom gases with low chemical reactivity — have long been known to exist in outer space. But molecules involving them have escaped detection, despite years of searching.
Now, European astronomers say they have detected noble gas molecules in space for the first time, even though they were not looking for them.

Dec 19: The European Space Agency launched an advanced telescope designed to detect a billion stars and provide the most detailed map yet of the Milky Way and our place in it.

The Gaia telescope was successfully hoisted by a Soyuz-STB-Fregat rocket from ESA’s space base in Kourou, French Guiana.

Dec 22: A vast store of water equivalent in area to Ireland lies beneath Greenland’s ice sheet, and it may provide answers to one of the big riddles of climate change.

US scientists were stunned when they drilled into a layer of compressed snow called firn—for instead of piercing an icy sponge at a depth of 10 metres (33 feet) as expected, they encountered liquid water and ice granules instead.

Jan 07: Astronomers call them super-Earths, and they are abundant outside our solar system. But the more experts learn about them, the weirder our own planet seems in comparison.

Planets the size of Earth, and up to four times larger are believed to make up about three-quarters of the planet candidates discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.

Jan 07: US company “SpaceX” deployed a commercial Thai satellite. The private firm’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

People In News

1.    Irrfan Khan
On Dec 16, Indian actor Irrfan Khan won the Best Actor Award for The Lunchbox at the 10th annual Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). He won the award in the Muhr Asia-Africa Feature category.

2.    Beyoncé Knowles
On Dec 16, Beyonce’s new self-titled album debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, making her the first woman to hit No. 1 with her first five studio albums.

3.    Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo
On Dec 18, renowned Sindhi intellectual and short story writer, Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, was selected for Kamal-e-Fun Award; the highest award in the field of literature that is given to a literary figure in recognition of his/her lifetime’s achievement in creative and research work.

4.    Lt Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat
On Dec 18, the government appointed Lt Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat, currently serving as the Corps Commander of Bahawalpur, as the new Director General of Strategic Plans division (SPD). He replaced retired Lt Gen Khalid Ahmad Kidwai.

5.    Vernon Philander
On Dec 20, Vernon Philander became the fastest South African bowler to 100 Test wickets, overtaking pace partner Dale Steyn by reaching the mark in his 19th match. Steyn took 20 matches for making the milestone.

6.    Prof Dr Attaur Rahman
On Dec 24, the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that it will confer its most prestigious award upon former president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences Prof Dr Attaur Rahman in recognition of his services for Pakistan-China cooperation in the field of science and technology.

7.    John McCafferty
On Dec 25, a British man John McCafferty entered the record books as the world’s longest-surviving heart transplant patient. He surpassed the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by an American man who died in 2009.

8.    Col. Michael S. Hopkins and Richard A. Mastracchio
On Dec 25, NASA astronauts, Col. Michael S. Hopkins of the Air Force adn Richard A. Mastracchio, completed urgent repairs to the cooling system of the

International Space Station.
In a seven-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, the astronauts installed a new pump module on the outside of the space station. The module, a 780-pound box about the size of a refrigerator, contains a pump and apparatus that circulate ammonia coolant through one of two loops on the station.

9.    Bea Santiago
On Dec 27, Filipino Beauty Bea Santiago was crowned as Miss International 2013 in Tokyo.

10.    Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan
On Dec 27, Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan got the distinction of remaining the governor of the province for 11 years. Ebad was made the governor on December 27, 2002. He has the credit for remaining as the governor for the longest period in the country. In view of his services, the government of Pakistan has conferred on him the Nishan-i-Imtiaz.

11.    MS Raheela Arain
On Dec 27, Raheela Asghar Arain, who hails from a remote area of Sindh, turned the country’s traditional agrarian society on its head. She was appointed as chairperson of the Farmers Organisation (FO) – the first Pakistani woman farmer to do so.

12.    Tyler Armstrong
On Dec, 28, Tyler Armstrong, a nine-year-old boy from California, became the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, which at 7,000 metres (22,841 feet) is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres.

13.    Mehrunissa Sajjad
On Dec 28, Mehrunissa Sajjad of Pakistan was elected Secretary of the Oxford Union Society for the term beginning January 2014. She is the first Pakistani to be elected to an office in the Oxford Union after Benazir Bhutto in 1977.

14.    Nadia Mehr Din
On Dec 29, Nadia Mehr Din of Kasur became the first Pakistani woman to have her doctorate from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar.

15.    Mrs Justice Ashraf Jehan
On Dec 30, Mrs Justice Ashraf Jehan became the first woman judge of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC). Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan administered oath of office to her.

16.    Gauhar Khan
On Jan 01, Indian actress Gauhar Khan won the 7th season of the reality show Bigg Boss after completing 104 days in the house. She defeated 14 celebrities and 5 wild card participants.

17.    Akbar Makhmoor
On Jan 3, after almost 30 years, Akbar Makhmoor compiled hundreds of pages of Seraiki words, their meanings, phrasal verbs, idioms, proverbs, synonyms and usages. The unpublished dictionary, which he gladly calls ‘Seraiki Akhar Pooti’ or Seraiki dictionary, has 115,000 words.

18.    Ansar Burney
On Jan 4, the Ansar Burney Trust International Chairman and the United Nations former Adviser on human rights, Ansar Burney, was conferred ‘Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Talent Award’ from Friends Club of Pakistan for his outstanding and historical services in the field of peace and human rights.

19.    Major Aamir
On Jan 5, Pakistan Army’s Maj Aamir broke his own national record setting a new mark in the double trap event on day five of the 21st National Shooting Championship at the Naval International Shooting Range.

20.    Devyani Khobragade
On Jan 7, Pakistan sided with India on the row over the treatment meted out to senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US, saying such treatment should not be meted to any official of another country.

21.    Robert Gates
Former US Defence Secretary
On Jan 10, in his new book, titled ‘Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War’ former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates revealed that the United States never thought of consulting Pakistan before raiding the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad because it feared that the ISI was protecting him.

22.    Imran Khan and Abdul Sattar Edhi
On Jan 11, two leading philanthropists and social activists of Pakistan Imran Khan and Abdul Sattar Edhi were included in the list of the most admired persons on this planet, compiled by the influential London newspaper The Times.

23.    Dr Ata ul Haq
On Jan 12, Belgium’s King Philip appointed Dr Ata ul Haq as adviser on economic diplomacy. Pakistan’s foreign ministry has concurred with this appointment. Dr Haq is the CEO of Green Technologies.

Places in News

Ankara, Turkey
On Dec 16, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström signed, with the Turkish Minister of Interior Muammer Güler, the EU-Turkey readmission agreement, and initiated, jointly with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu, the EU-Turkey Visa liberalization dialogue.

Kabul, Afghanistan
On Dec 18, 11th round of the talks of friendship group of parliamentarians of the Pakistan and Afghanistan was held in Kabul where they suggested that the television channels of both countries should be allowed to be viewed in each other’s country.

Islamabad, Pakistan
On Dec 18, a day-long meeting of the Developing-8 (D-8) countries began in Islamabad to formulate a strategy to increase trade among emerging economies of the Muslim world. The conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and was attended by foreign ministers from Iran, Turkey, and Indonesia. Bangladesh, Nigeria, Malaysia and Egypt were represented by senior officials.

Islamabad, Pakistan
On Dec 19, the first round of the annual bilateral political consultations between Pakistan and Turkey within the framework of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council was held at the Foreign Office. The council was established in 2009.

Washington DC, USA
On Dec 20, the US and EU trade officials wrapped up five-day negotiations in Washington, in third round of talks to create the world’s largest free-trade area to boost growth and jobs in their huge economies. The two economies combined make up 40 per cent of output in the world economy.

Male, Maldives
On Dec. 22, inaugural session of the Seventh Conference of the Association of Saarc Speakers and Parliamentarians was held in Male, Maldives. Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq while addressing the session said, “Lack of goodwill, and absence of proper communication between them, have kept member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) from achieving their common goals.”

Lahore, Pakistan
On Dec 22, the International Peace Conference, jointly organised by the World Punjabi Congress and International Sufi Council, started in Lahore.
Thirty five high-profile delegates from India and 15 from 10 other countries are participated in the conference that was inaugurated by the Palestinian writer and former cultural advisor to Yasser Arafat, Dr Hannan Awaad.

Hollywood Park, USA
On Dec 23, Hollywood Park, once America’s most famous horse racing showplace with legendary moviemakers and film stars among its patrons, closed after 75 years with a final slate of 11 races.

Karachi, Pakistan
On Dec 26, the Young Leaders’ Conference (YLC)-2013 was held at Dream World Resort, Karachi. The theme for the 12th annual conference was Khalbali the creative restlessness.

Lahore, Pakistan
On Dec 25, the bi-annual meeting between senior officials of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) and India’s Border Security Force was held at the Rangers Headquarters, Lahore.

Melbourne, Australia
On Dec 26, a world record crowd of 91,092 attended Day 1 of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The crowd surpassed the 90,800, also at the MCG, set on the second day of the fifth Test of the West Indies’ tour of Australia in 1961.

Naudero, Pakistan
On Dec 26, a distribution ceremony of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Women Excellence Awards-2013 was held at Bhutto House Naudero, organised by Sindh Women Development.
Former president Asif Zardari was the chief guest on the occasion.

Ibi town, Spain
On Dec 28, the battle of Enfarinats, a 200-year-old traditional festival of flour fight, was held in Ibi town, in the south-east of Spain. Ibi’s citizens annually celebrate the Els Enfarinats, part of the celebrations of the Day of the Innocents, with a battle using flour, eggs and firecrackers outside the city town hall.

Antarctica
On Dec 30, an Antarctic blizzard halted an Australian icebreaker’s bid to reach the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy that is trapped with 74 people on board. The vessel is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to follow the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.

Dubai, UAE
On Jan 1, Dubai shattered the world record for the largest ever pyrotechnic display on New Year’s Eve with a show involving more than half a million fireworks, Guinness World Records said.

Harbin, China
On Jan 5, the 30th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicked off in Harbin, Heilongjiang province of China. According to festival organisers, nearly 10,000 workers were employed to build the ice and snow sculptures, which require about 180,000 square metres of ice and 150,000 square metres of snow.

Abu Dhabi, UAE
On Jan 6, the camel beauty pageant, Al Dhafra Festival, was held at Abu Dhabi, in the UAE that featured 30,000 camels from all over the Gulf region. The Arabs appreciate their camels rather deeply. They call these beautiful creatures ‘God’s gift to the Bedouin’.

Zurich, Switzerland
On Jan 13, FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2013 was held at Zurich. Cristiano Ronaldo was declared the world’s best football player of the year, ending Lionel Messi’s four-year run. Germany took home three prizes, with Jupp Heynckes and Silvia Neid winning best trainers and Nadine Angerer, best female player.

Daulatpur, Pakistan 
On Jan 15, At least 17 schoolchildren and three other people were killed and 14 seriously injured when a school van and a dumper truck collided on the Nawabshah-Qazi Ahmad link road.

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