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World in Focus ( Nov – Dec 2017 )

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NATIONAL

Nov 16: The National Assembly passed the 24th Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, paving the way for the ECP to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of provisional census data.

Nov 17: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously passed a Pakistan-sponsored resolution, reaffirming the universal realization of the right to self-determination for people. The resolution was co-sponsored by 75 countries.

Nov 17: The Sindh Assembly unanimously adopted the Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Bill. The bill was tabled by PPP’s parliamentary party leader Nisar Khuhro in view of the Sept 12, 2012, Baldia factory fire.

Nov 17: The federal government appointed Naeem Y. Zamindar the new chairman of the Board of Investment (BoI). He has replaced Dr Miftah Ismail, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Investment, who chaired the board from Jan 2014 to July 2017.

Nov 17: Sixty-nine officers of the Pakistan Medical Contingent (PAKMED) serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were decorated with the United Nations peacekeeping medals in Monrovia, Liberia, in acknowledgement of their contribution to peace and stability in the West African country.

Nov 18: Celebrated Olympian Afzal Manna breathed his last. An inside left of repute of Pakistan hockey, he played for Pakistan in 1964 Olympics (silver medal) and Asian Games 1958 (gold medal) & 1962 (gold medal). An international umpire, he also remained coach of Pakistan’s national team.

Nov 20: The 8th Round of Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and China was held in Islamabad.

Nov 20: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the second Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at Port Qasim, Karachi.

Nov 21: A British-Pakistani woman Shabnam Chaudhri became the first -ever Muslim and Asian woman to be appointed as detective superintendent of the Scotland Yard.

Nov 21: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) defeated a Nawaz Sharif-specific opposition bill seeking to restore the bar on a disqualified person from holding party office, in the National Assembly.

Nov 22: The government withdrew the portfolio of finance minister from Ishaq Dar. The prime minister allowed leave of absence to him but he will remain member of federal cabinet.

Nov 22: The Lahore High Court rejected the Punjab government’s request for an extension of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s detention.

Nov 22: The Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement with the ECP to provide $5.9 million for the project to develop the capacity of key democratic institutions, including provincial and national assemblies, and the ECP itself.

Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Takashi Kurai and UNDP Country Director Ignacio Artaza signed the agreement.

Nov 23: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to observe December 7 as the National Voters Day.

Nov 24: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the ongoing sit-in at the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad an ‘anti-state activity’ and ‘an act of terrorism’.

Nov 24: Kamran Akmal made a world-record opening partnership of 209 runs with Salman Butt in the Brighto Paints presents Cool & Cool National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi.

The previous record for best partnership was held by Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond and ex-England international Joe Denly pulverized Essex bowling in a stand of 207 at Chelmsford.

Nov 24: The Cabinet Secretariat issued a letter for re-designation of Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer as Science & Technology minister, under an additional charge.

Nov 25: Pak-Saudi Special Forces joint counter-terrorism exercise ‘Al-Shehab-2′ started in Riyadh. The exercise continued till December 10, 2017.

Nov 25: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) ordered private TV channels to go off-air during an operation launched by police and Rangers against participants of a sit-in staged at Faizabad Interchange.

Nov 26: Saqib Zia, Associate Brand Director at Procter and Gamble, Pakistan was elected the new Chairman of Pakistan Advertisers Society (PAS).

Nov 26: The Australian Government announced an AUD500,000 programme to train around 4,000 smallholder farmers from Sheikhupura and Gujranwala, Punjab, to produce quality seed, improve crop yield and gain better access to the market.

Nov 27: Pakistan’s Hammad Hadi Khan clinched the title of the 29th Princess Cup Youth Scrabble Tournament beating his teammate and 2013 World Youth Scrabble Champion Moizullah Baig in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nov 27: Protesters at the Faizabad interchange called off their countrywide protest after over 20 days when the government accepted most of their major demands, including the resignation of federal law minister Zahid Hamid, under an army-brokered agreement.

Nov 27: Minister of State for Science and Technology Mir Dostain Khan Domki tendered his resignation.

Nov 28: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) declared the appointment of Qasim M. Niaz as chairman of National Tariff Commission (NTC) void and against the law.

Nov 28: The Punjab government approved the construction of Dadhocha Dam, Rawalpindi (Revised) at the cost of 6.137 billion rupees.

Nov 28: A bust of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was unveiled at the British Museum. The bust was, then, moved to Lincoln’s Inn where it will remain.

The Quaid was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn on April 29, 1896. Scottish-born sculptor Philip Jackson was commissioned to make the bust.

Nov 28: Prime Minister Abbasi inaugurated Unit-I of 1,320MW Port Qasim coal-fired power project in Karachi.

Nov 28: The government appointed National Assembly Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik, a BS-21 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, new chairman of the National Highway Authority (NHA).

Nov 28: The government attracted highest-ever bids in an auction of Pakistani debt when bids worth over $8 billion were received for the two bonds that the government floated in New York: a five-year sukuk and a 10-year eurobond. The government raised $1bn through the sukuk at 5.625 pc and $1.5bn via the eurobond at 6.875pc.

Nov 28: Saeed Ajmal, one of Pakistan’s best off-spinners ever, announced his retirement from all formats of the game.

Nov 30: Lahore Blues outplayed Lahore Whites to become champions of the Brighto Paints presents Cool & Cool National T20 Cup.

Nov 30: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) started a legal battle against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for not honouring a bilateral cricket series agreement.

The PCB is seeking $70 million in compensation from the BCCI after India failed to attend two series in 2014 and 2015 as part of an MoU signed between the two boards.

Dec 01: Punjab, with 105 points, won the 8th National Junior Weightlifting Championships.

Dec 02: President Mamnoon Hussain appointed Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat as Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.

Dec 02: The Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy deregulated diesel after petrol and HOBC.

Dec 02: The PML-N constituted a new Central Executive Committee (CEC), besides reconstituting its 110-member Central Working Committee (CWC).

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif, MNA Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, are also members of the new CEC.

Dec 03: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated Beijing Underpass, the longest in Pakistan, on the Canal Road in Lahore.

Dec 03: The Sindhi Culture Day was celebrated across Sindh.

Did You Know?

1. The Day is also known as ‘Aekta jo ddihaarro’.
2. It is celebrated worldwide on first Sunday of December
3. The day was celebrated for the first time in December 2009.
4. This year’s theme was: ‘Sindh a land of prosperity and togetherness’.

Dec 04: Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal became the first Asian player to have completed 800 catches in the first-class cricket.

Dec 04: Seventy-five members of the 193-member UN General Assembly’s Third Committee supported Pakistan’s resolution on right to self-determination of people facing foreign occupation.

Dec 04: US Defence Secretary James Mattis reached Pakistan on an official visit. During the visit, he urged Pakistan to cooperate with the US and ‘others’ as it renewed its call for intensification of Pakistani operation in fight against terrorist groups allegedly operating from here.

Dec 04: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) launched a project aimed at bridging the gap of over 12 million between male and female registered voters in the country.

According to the electoral rolls of September 2017, of the 97.02m citizens registered as voters, 54.60m are men (56.27pc) and 42.42m are women (43.73pc). The gap between male and female voters has now gone up to 12.17m from 10.97m in March 2013.

Dec 04: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed Nawaz Sharif’s petition requesting the court to club three references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) under directions of the Supreme Court.

Dec 04: Rizwan Ahmed was appointed the chairman of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).

Dec 04: Asian Development Bank allocated $5 billion for the implementation of Strategy 2030 under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC).

Dec 05: Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) received recognition from Irish Medical Council, Ireland, and General Medical Council UK for implementing new regulations regarding house jobs and internships.

Dec 05: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) marked the golden jubilee of its establishment.

Did You Know?

1. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on November 30, 1967, in Lahore.
2. Its first convention was held at Dr Mubashir Hassan’s house.
3. The party’s manifesto for the 1970 election was a detailed document jointly authored by Bhutto, J.A. Rahim, Dr Mubashir, Hanif Ramay and veteran trade unionist, S. Rashid.
4. The manifesto stated that Islam was the party’s faith, socialism was its economy and democracy was its policy.
5. The party won the 1970 elections in West Pakistan on a socialist mandate of ‘Roti, Kapra, Makan’ (‘bread, clothes, shelter’).
6. Since its inception, the PPP has been elected into government five times i.e., 1970, 1977, 1988, 1993 and 2008.
7. Initially PPP was a socialist nationalist party as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wanted closer ties with China and more attention paid to the lower classes.
8. Benazir Bhutto, on the other hand, adopted conservative privatization policies in order to secure funding from the United States and the World Bank.

Dec 05: The government of Punjab, on orders of the Lahore High Court, made public the report into Model Town killings of June 17, 2014, prepared by Justice Ali Baqir Najafi.

Dec 06: Prime Minister Abbasi approved, in principle, a proposal to establish a Capital Mass Transit Authority for the planning, operation and maintenance of the metro bus service running between the new Islamabad airport and the capital and Rawalpindi’s main residential areas.

Dec 07: The National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution that ‘strongly condemned’ the US decision of shifting its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, termed it an ‘attack’ on Muslim Ummah, and asked Washington to immediately reverse the decision.

Dec 08: The Supreme Court gave the multibillion Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project the green light, but with some conditions , as it set aside the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) August 19, 2016 stay order.

Dec 08: Tanzeem al Ikhwan party chief Maulana Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan passed away.

Dec 10: Pakistan thrashed arch-rivals India 11–2 to clinch Gold Medal in Dubai Baseball Cup.

Dec 11: The 28th meeting of Economic Cooperation Organisation Regional Planning Council (ECORPC) was held in Islamabad.

Dec 11: The PCB’s Anti-corruption Tribunal (ATC) imposed one-year ban on former international cricketer Nasir Jamshed for not cooperating with the PCB and the ATC in the spot fixing case.

Dec 12: The UN General Assembly passed a resolution, by consensus, on promoting inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace and non-violence based on education, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation in the world. The Resolution was sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines.

Dec 12: French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet handed over her country’s prestigious Human Rights Prize to the Freedom Network, a Pakistani civil liberties organisation working on the issues of freedom of expression, media freedoms and safety of journalists.

Dec 12: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri appointed MPA Samina Khan as Special Assistant for Women Development and MPA Kishwar Jattak as Special Assistant for Haj, Zakat and Prisons.

Dec 12: Veteran athlete, former national broad jump champion and noted organiser Munawwar Randhawa died.

Dec 13: Ministry of Law and Justice formally issued the notification of appointment of Justice (retd) Shah Khawar as NAB’s prosecutor general accountability.

Dec 13: The religious parties formally announced to revive Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

Dec 13: Pakistan filed a counter memorial before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Kulbhushan Jadhav case wherein the ICJ was told that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, applies only to the legitimate visitors and does not cover clandestine operations.

Dec 14: The fifth annual District Education Rankings was issued by the Alif Ailaan education campaign.

Did You Know?

1. The Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa topped the rankings with the best education score from all the districts of the country.
2. The Malakand district secured the highest scores for middle schools with infrastructure and facilities, with the province leading the rankings.
3. The report noted that among the top-ten-performing districts — in terms of electricity availability in Pakistan — eight are from K-P.

Dec 14: Veteran journalist Afzal Khan died. He was 80.

Dec 15: The Supreme Court absolved Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan of all allegations of corruption, but disqualified his aide and confidant, party’s Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen, under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

INTERNATIONAL

Nov 16: Zaira Wasim, the rising star of Indian cinema having hit films like Secret Superstar and Dangal to her credit, was conferred with the 2017 National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in the field of performing arts by the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.

Nov 17: The US Congress passed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), 2018, that requires Pakistan to work with the Afghan and American forces to destroy the Haqqani Network.

Nov 17: The Iraqi army retook the small Euphrates valley town of Rawa, the last town in the country still held by the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Nov 17: Former “boss of all bosses” Toto Riina, one of the most feared godfathers of the Sicilian Mafia, died.

Nov 18: Negotiations to bolster the climate-saving Paris Agreement, crafted over two decades, ended in Bonn. Closing two weeks of talks, negotiators agreed to hold a stock-take in 2018 of national efforts to cut fossil fuel emissions.

Nov 20: Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna died at the age of 49.

Nov 20: US President Donald Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, returning Kim Jong Un’s government to a short blacklist of targeted US foes.

Nov 21: Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president, a week after the army and his former political allies moved against him, ending four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal strongman.

Nov 21: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Nov 21: Russia’s meteorological service, Roshydromet, measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times the normal levels in the Ural mountains.

Nov 22: Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri shelved his decision to resign as prime minister at the request of President Michel Aoun.

Nov 22: The United Nations judges sentenced former Bosnian-Serb commander Ratko Mladic, dubbed ‘The Butcher of Bosnia’, to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide and war crimes in the brutal Balkans conflicts over two decades ago.

Nov 23: Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to start repatriating refugees within two months. Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali inked a deal in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw.

Nov 24: Latin America and the Caribbean was declared the most violent region in the world for women, by the United Nations.

Femicide, the killing of women, occurred on a “devastating scale” in Central America, the report said, explaining that two out of three women murdered died because of their gender.

Nov 24: Lionel Messi won the European Golden Shoe award for being the top scorer in the continent last season.

Nov 24: Armed attackers killed at least 235 worshippers in a bomb-and-gun assault on a mosque in Egypt’s restive North Sinai province, the country’s deadliest attack in recent memory.

World in Focus ( Nov - Dec 2017 )Nov 24: The 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, also known as the Crocodile, was sworn in as president of Zimbabwe, bringing the final curtain down on the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe.

Nov 25: President Vladimir Putin signed into law new rules on international media organisations present in Russia being termed “foreign agents”, following US pressure on the Kremlin-backed RT television channel.

Nov 26: Iran and Turkey signed a deal with Qatar for boosting commercial ties with the Gulf state which is under blockade by its Arab neighbours.

Nov 26: Officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered in Saudi Arabia in the first meeting of a counterterrorism alliance, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).

Nov 26: Former US President George H.W. Bush became the longest-living commander-in-chief in the US history.

Did You Know?

George H.W. Bush, who was born on June 12, 1924, reached the age of 93 years and 166 days, meaning that he has now lived longer than the previous record-holder, former President Gerald R. Ford, who died in December 2006 at the age of 93 years and 165 days.

Nov 27: Britain appointed Karen Pierce as its new permanent secretary to the United Nations, the first woman to take on the role.

Nov 27: Beauden Barrett of New Zealand won World Rugby’s player of the year award for second straight year.

Nov 27: Spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin became the fastest bowler to reach 300 Test wickets, taking 54 matches to reach the mark – two fewer than Aussie pace legend Denis Lillee.

Nov 27: Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who represented South Africa, won the Miss Universe 2017 crown.

The runner-up was Miss Colombia Laura Gonzalez, while the second runner-up was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett.

Nov 28: Zhang Yang, a member of the state’s Central Military Commission, killed himself after becoming the latest top official ensnared by President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Nov 28: Slobodan Praljak, 72, a Bosnian-Croat war criminal died after apparently drinking poison in dramatic courtroom scenes after UN judges upheld his 20-year jail term.

Nov 30: The US researchers developed a living organism that incorporates both natural and artificial DNA and is capable of creating entirely new, synthetic proteins.

The work brings scientists closer to the development of designer proteins made to order in a laboratory.

Nov 30: The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

Opec also decided to cap the output of Nigeria and Libya at 2017 levels.

Dec 02: The rebel alliance controlling Yemen’s capital Sanaa appeared to be crumbling as former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a strongman opposed to the internationally-recognised government, reached out to the Saudi-led coalition fighting the insurgents.

Dec 01: NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft — cruising interstellar space billions of miles from Earth — was back on the right track, thanks to thrusters that were fired up for the first time in 37 years.

Did You Know?

The unmanned spaceship was launched along with its twin, Voyager 2, more than 40 years ago to explore the outer planets of our solar system, traveling further than any human-made object in history.

Nov 30: The United Nations General Assembly voted to adopt the draft resolution ‘Jerusalem’ entailing ‘that any actions by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the holy city of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void’.

Did You Know?

An overwhelming 151 states voted in favour of adopting the resolution, while six states Canada, Federate d States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, the United States voted against the resolution.

Nine states abstained, including Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan and Togo.

Dec 03: Iran awarded its biannual $500,000 Mustafa Prize to two computer science experts; an Iranian Mohammad Amin Shokrollahi and a Turkish-French national Sami Erol Gelenbe.

Along with medals and certificates, each winner gets $500,000.

Dec 03: Iran inaugurated a $1 billion project to expand its southeastern Chabahar port that would help the country become a key transit route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, competing with Gwadar port.

About the Project

1. The project was conceived in 2003.
2. The expansion was carried out with an investment of $1 bn, including $235 million from India.
3. The project has more than tripled the port’s capacity, to 8.5 million tonnes a year.
4. India has committed $500m to the Gulf of Oman port, which is Iran’s closest to the Indian Ocean and would allow it to bypass Pakistan.
World in Focus ( Nov - Dec 2017 )5. The project was executed by a Revolutionary Guards-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia, the largest Iranian contractor of government construction projects.
6. The port can accommodate giant ships up to a dry weight of 120,000 tonnes, with transit of goods to neighbouring landlocked Central Asian countries, as well as open a route to eastern and northern Europe through Russia.
7. The expansion includes five new piers, two of them for containers allowing cargo vessels with up to 100,000-tonne captaincy to dock.
8. The inauguration was attended by dignitaries from India, Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
9. Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, represented Pakistan at the ceremony.

Dec 03: The United States notified the United Nations that it would no longer take part in the Global Compact on Migration.

Did You Know?

1. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hosted an international summit on migration and refugees in September 2016 in the hope of establishing a set of guidelines for the international effort.
2. The so-called New York declaration, which came out of that meeting, was endorsed by the Obama administration.

Dec 04: Yemen’s Houthi rebels killed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s former president and strongman.

Dec 04: Veteran Indian actor Shashi Kapoor died, ending an era of cinema rooted in literature, poetry and history.

Dec 04: Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno was elected as the new head of the Eurogroup, with the key job of pushing through much-needed reforms across the single currency bloc.

Dec 04: Mohamad Al Jounde, a teenage Syrian refugee, won the annual International Children’s Peace Prize for “building a school and providing an education to hundreds of children who fled to Lebanon to escape the conflict.”

Dec 05: Former Romanian King Michael I, who was forced to abdicate by the communists in the aftermath of World War II, died. He was 96.

Did You Know?

1. Michael played a pivotal role in Romania’s switch to the Allied cause following a coup in 1944.
2. He spent decades in exile working as a chicken farmer and aircraft pilot.
3. He finally got his citizenship back in 1997, eight years after the collapse of communism.
4. Michael, a great-great grandson to Britain’s Queen Victoria, acceded to the throne in 1927 when he was 6.

Dec 05: The US Supreme Court ruled that the government could fully enforce a revised ban on travellers from six mainly Muslim countries pending appeal, backing President Donald Trump in the year-long battle over the controversial measure.

Dec 05: European Union finance ministers adopted a blacklist of 17 jurisdictions deemed as tax havens to counter worldwide tax avoidance.

The Blacklist

The blacklist is made up of American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

South Korea, which has a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, was listed because it has ‘harmful preferential tax regimes’, while the UAE does not apply minimum global standards against tax avoidance.

World in Focus ( Nov - Dec 2017 )Blacklisted countries may no longer be used by EU institutions for international financial operations, and transactions involving them could be subject to closer scrutiny.

Dec 05: The United Arab Emirates formed a new military and economic committee with Saudi Arabia separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Dec 06: India won a record ninth Test series in succession and equalled Australia’s record of nine consecutive Test series victories.

Dec 06: The Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers,” the persons behind the #MeToo movement, its ‘Person of the Year’.

Did You Know?

The Time’s annual distinction recognises the person, group, thing or idea that it has determined had the greatest influence on events for the year.

Dec 06: The third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dec 06: US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, 70 years after the United States formally recognised Israel as a state.

Dec 07: Qatar signed a $1.3-billion deal with France to buy 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets.

Dec 08: The European Union and Japan concluded negotiations on a free trade deal to create the world’s largest open economic area.

The deal, combining the 28-nation bloc and the world’s third largest economy, will remove EU tariffs of 10pc on Japanese cars and the 3pc rate typically applied to car parts.

For the EU, it will scrap Japanese duties of some 30pc on EU cheese and 15pc on wines as well as allowing it to increase its beef and pork exports and gain access to large public tenders in Japan.

Dec 08: Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal that paved the way for arduous talks on future trade ties, boosting hopes of an orderly Brexit.

Dec 08: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal won his fifth Ballon d’Or award.

Dec 10: The Nobel Peace Prize 2017 was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Oslo, Norway.

Dec 11: Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year-old ban on cinemas.

Dec 11: Egypt and Russia signed a final contract for the building of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant in Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast.

Dec 11: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the war-torn country during his trip to Turkey.

Dec 12: Chris Gayle of West Indies hit a record 18 sixes in a T20 match.

Gayle’s Record Collection

1. Most sixes in a T20 innings – 18
2. Highest T20 score – 175 not out
3. Most T20 hundreds – 20
4. Fastest T20 century – 30 balls
5. He is responsible for three of the top 10 highest T20 scores of all time.
6. His 146 not out is the 10th highest score in T20s. His unbeaten 175 for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL remains the highest.
7. He is the only player to score a T20 international century, an ODI double century and a Test triple century.

Dec 13: Islamic leaders urged the world to recognise occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine in an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.

Dec 13: Sri Lanka entered the Guinness World Records for constructing the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree in 2016. The tree is 72.1 metres tall, and was made by Arjuna Ranatunga in December 2016.

Dec 13: India’s skipper Rohit Sharma became the first batsman to hit three double centuries in ODIs.

Dec 14: Walt Disney Co. agreed to buy key film and television assets of 21st Century Fox, in a $52.4 billion deal set to reshape the entertainment landscape and step up a challenge to Netflix and emerging rivals in the streaming wars.

Dec 14: European leaders inaugurated the landmark pact named Permanent Structured Cooperation on Defence, or Pesco.

Twenty-five countries, all of the EU member states except Denmark, Malta and Britain, which is leaving the bloc, have joined Pesco.

Dec 15: A record-tying eighth planet was found in a faraway solar system, matching our own in number.

Interesting Facts

1. This eighth planet orbits the star known as Kepler-90.
2. Like Earth, this new planet, Kepler-90i, is the third rock from its sun.
3. It orbits the sun in just 14 days and, therefore, has a scorching 427 degrees Celsius at the surface.
4. This is the only eight-planet solar system found like ours so far.
5. Our solar system had nine planets until Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union.

Dec 15: The emblems of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, respectively named ‘Winter Dream’ and ‘Flight’, were unveiled.

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