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World in Focus (Jun-Jul 2019)

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June 16: Pakistan Army announced postings and transfers of three-star officers, appointing Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed as new Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

June 16: Pakistan’s former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif was granted first extension in his service as Commander of 39-country Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).

June 16: Eminent poet Zehra Nigah won the lifetime achievement award at the 8th UBL Literary Awards.

June 17: Noted social media activist Mohammad Bilal Khan was stabbed to death in Islamabad.

June 17: COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa met Commander of China’s People’s Liberation Army Gen Han Weiguo at the GHQ. During the meeting Gen Bajwa reaffirmed Pak Army’s commitment to ensure security of the CPEC.

June 17: The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its report said that 110 Model Criminal Trial Courts (MCTC) across the country have decided 5,647 murder and narcotics trial cases in two and a half months.

June 17: Arshad Khan assumed the charge of Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) as its chairman.

June 17: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that life sentence does not mean 25-year imprisonment; rather, it means life imprisonment.

June 18: The government signed an MoU with the United Kingdom for repatriation of former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

June 18: President Dr Arif Alvi conferred Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) upon General Han Weiguo, Commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Ground Force of China.

June 18: The Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture signed an MoU with Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature for the promotion of the Punjabi literature and culture.

About the Prize

The world’s signature prize for Punjabi literary works, the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature celebrates the rich culture and transnational heritage of the Punjabi literature. Realizing the need to celebrate the Punjabi language and its literary products, it was established a group of culturally informed Punjabis led by Barj S. Dhahan in 2013 in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC). The prize aims to inspire the creation of the Punjabi literature across borders, bridging communities around the world and promoting literature on a global scale. It awards annual prize for excellence in the Punjabi fiction. For work in the Punjabi scripts of Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi, this prize recognises one outstanding writer with a $25,000 award as well as two finalists with awards of $5,000.

June 18: Pakistan and the World Bank (WB) signed three loan agreements under which the Washington-based lending agency would provide $918 million to help the Pakistani government expand the country’s tax base and improve education standards in strategic economic sectors.

June 18: Pakistan took exception to the ‘defamatory report’ published by the BBC world service, and demanded that the story ‘Uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses’ be removed, with a clear-cut apology.

June 18: After the 10th round of military-to-military talks at the Ministry of Defence in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and Japan signed an MoU on defence cooperation and exchanges.

June 18: According to projections released by the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7bn by 2050, and Pakistan will be among the nine countries where more than half of the projected increase will be concentrated.

June 18: The government formed the National Development Council (NDC), a high-powered body also comprising military authorities, to formulate development and economy-oriented policies of the country. The NDS would be headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and will also have Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as one of its members.

June 18: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government unveiled a Rs900 billion surplus budget for 2019-20 with a record development outlay of Rs319bn. KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra presented the budget.

June 19: China finished building the outer safety dome at its first overseas “Hualong One” nuclear reactor in Karachi. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2020.

June 19: Balochistan’s budget for the next financial year with an outlay of Rs419.9 billion was presented.

June 20: Former Test cricketer Mohsin Khan resigned from his office as chairman Cricket Committee.

June 20: The Islamabad High Court dismissed a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking bail on medical grounds.

June 20: Pakistan survived from falling into the blacklist at Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with the support of more than three countries at the plenary review meeting held in USA.

June 21: The government notified a 12-member Commission of Inquiry, which will be headed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Chairman Hussain Asghar, to determine if increase in public debt between 2008 and 2018 was justified by infrastructure development programme or misused by public office-holders of the last two governments.

June 22: Animated series Aagahi by award-winning film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was nominated at the 66th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, becoming the first Pakistani series to be nominated at the festival.

June 22: Pakistan and Qatar signed three MoUs on trade and investment and cooperation on financial intelligence and tourism. The MoUs were signed at the start of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s two-day state visit to Pakistan.

June 22: Pakistan hosted a key meeting on Afghanistan reconciliation in Murree’s Bhurban. The meeting was att­ended by over 50 senior Afghan politicians including Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Karim Khalili, Atta Noor Mohammad, Fouzia Kofi, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Moh­a­mmad Yunus Qanooni, Ismail Khan and key Afghan presidential candidate and former national security adviser Haneef Atmar.

June 23: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reclassified its assessment and declared Pakistan as family station for its duty staff working in the country.

June 23: Former foreign minister of Pakistan and a renowned diplomat Abdul Sattar passed away. He was 88.

June 23: President Dr Arif Alvi conferred Nishan-i-Pakistan, Pakistan’s highest civil award, upon the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in recognition of his outstanding contribution for fostering fraternal ties between the Pakistan and Qatar.

June 24: The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) told the Lahore High Court that a chapter on fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution had been incorporated in newly-printed textbooks of Pakistan Studies for grades IX to XII.

June 24: Pakistan and the United Kingdom held military-to-military talks on geostrategic environment and discussed ways to intensify defence cooperation.

June 24: Islamabad High Court declared that despite having permission for second marriage from first wife, it is also mandatory to obtain permission from reconciliation council.

June 25: Pakistan proposed a six-point plan at the United Nations to address faith-based hatred and Islamophobia. The plan was proposed by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi at an event “Countering Terrorism and Other Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” at UN Headquarters.

The six-point plan

  1. Legislation by countries to address racism and faith-based hatred
  2. Monitoring social media platforms to prevent hate speech and negative stereotyping
  3. A “focused strategy” to counter Islamophobia
  4. Increased investment in research to identify root causes of religious hatred
  5. Increased engagement of women and youth
  6. Increase investment in education

June 25: Pakistan and the European Union inked their Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), which is expected to provide the framework for greater cooperation and stronger ties between the two sides. The SEP was signed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at a ceremony in Brussels.

About the SEP

The new strategic engagement plan for steering their bilateral relationship was agreed upon after protracted negotiations at the fourth round of Pakistan-EU strategic dialogue held in Islamabad in March. The new security dialogue under SEP has replaced the earlier series of annual counterterrorism and non-proliferation and disarmament dialogues. The framework includes promoting mutual peace and prosperity, trade and investment, sustainable development, energy, education and culture and addressing migrant issues.

June 25: Actor Ahad Raza Mir was awarded a Betty Mitchell Award for his portrayal of Hamlet in a theatre play.

June 25: Pakistan was allowed to compete in the qualifying matches for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

June 25: Renowned musician, composer and classical singer Ustad Ghulam Haider Khan passed away. He was 85.

June 26: Noted Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was awarded an honorary degree by the Oxford University.

June 26: A life-size sculpture of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who ruled over Punjab for close to 40 years in the early 19th century, was unveiled at the historic Lahore Fort.

June 27: Veteran national hockey player Amanatullah Khan Lodi aka Soofi died. He was 85.

June 27: During the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan, both countries agreed to reboot their bilateral relations, which have remained mired in mistrust for long, by developing a ‘forward-looking vision’ based on cooperation instead of political competition.

June 27: The federal cabinet allowed ministries to get approval of all international agreements through the circulation of summaries instead of bringing them up for discussion.

June 28: The government managed to get its first full-fledged federal budget passed in the National Assembly with a majority vote.

June 28: The Supreme Court declared the 2001 lease agreement of the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club as void ab initio (unlawful from very beginning), giving its possession back to the Pakistan Railways with directive to run the club through a team of its officers or independent professionals.

June 28: A seminar on ‘Pakistan’s Economy: Challenges and Way Forward’ was held at the National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad. While speaking on the occasion, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said Pakistan is going through difficult economic situation, and we all need to fulfil our responsibilities so that difficult initiatives taken by the government succeed. He said it is time to be a nation. The COAS said the Armed Forces played their part by voluntarily foregoing annual increase in defence budget and this is not the only step we are taking for improvement of economy.

June 29: Pakistan signed a $375 million syndicated loan with banks in the United Arab Emirates.

June 29: Sub-Inspector Kalsoom Fatima was appointed the station house officer (SHO) of Dal Varyam Model Police Station in Pakpattan district, becoming the first-ever woman police officer who has been appointed as an SHO in any police station of the district.

June 29: Babar Masih and Zulfiqar Qadir of Team Pakistan-2 defeated Pankaj Advani, Laxman Rawat and Aditya Mehta of Team India-1 in the deciding frame to claim the ACBS Asian Team Snooker Championship which concluded in Doha, Qatar.

June 30: Prime Minister Imran Khan formally approved the launch of 33-member National Youth Council (NYC) for uplift of youth of the country. The program Patron-in-Chief will be Prime Minister Imran Khan while chairman will be PM’s adviser on Youth Affairs Usman Dar.

July 01: The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) arrested PML-N Punjab president MNA Rana Sanaullah Khan in a narcotics case involving proscribed outfits.

July 01: The Pakistan ladies bridge team beat India in the final to win the gold medal at the 20th BFAME 2019 Bridge Championship.

July 02: General Oleg Salyukov, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Ground Forces, called on Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.

July 02: The historic Shawala Teja Singh temple was re-opened for the Hindu community for worship after its 72-year closure.

July 02: The government announced the launch of Prime Minister’s National Agriculture Emergency Programme worth Rs309.7 billion to uplift the agricultural economy.

July 02: The 4th round of Bilateral Political Consultations between Pakistan and Russia was held in Moscow.

July 02: France returned more than 400 stolen artefacts to the government of Pakistan, including ancient busts, vases, urns and goblets, some dating to the second and third millennia BC.

July 03: Ahmed Nawaz, a survivor of the 2014 Army Public School (APS) massacre bagged Diana Award in London for his anti-radicalisation youth campaign.

July 03: The Executive Board of the IMF approved a $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan and immediately released $1bn to ease a sustained pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

July 04: Provincial Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid announced a 10-year Punjab health sector strategy.

July 04: The government’s finance team announced that a total of 137,000 people have registered for the tax amnesty scheme and deposited Rs70 billion in taxes.

July 04: The federal cabinet approved the SECP Seize and Search Rules 2019. Under the new rules, the SECP officers will be empowered to conduct raids on federal and provincial level and seize documents, laptops, mobile phones and other required equipment.

July 05: The government promoted a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officer to the rank of Air Marshal and 13 others to Air Vice Marshal.

July 05: Prime Minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated Road to Makkah project at the Islamabad International Airport.

July 05: Babar Azam broke Javed Miandad’s nearly three-decade-old record for most runs in a single World Cup for Pakistan by scoring 474 runs in the 2019 edition of the tournament.

July 05: The ADB approved a $235 million loan for Karachi’s bus rapid transit (BRT) project, Red Line.

July 05: The Army established a special cell on missing persons.

July 05: Senior journalist Zuhra Karim passed away in Singapore.

July 06: The Anti-Corruption Establishment recovered 1,400-acre state land worth Rs1,845.6 million in tehsil Chishtian and registered a case against 15 persons, including Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) lawmaker Ehsanul Haq Bajwa.

July 06: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations launched a comprehensive agriculture water accounting system for the entire Indus Basin that will increase resilience to climate change among the most vulnerable farmers in the basin and strengthen government’s capacity to plan and support farming communities against future climate changes.

July 06: Punjab University former vice chancellor Prof Khairat Ibn-e-Rasa passed away at the age of 93.

About the late Professor

Prof Khairat was born at Bhaderwah on October 5, 1926 where he studied at the Government Higher Secondary School and did his BSc from GGM Science College, Jammu Kashmir. He did his MSc in chemistry from the Aligarh Muslim University and came to Pakistan after the Partition. Then he proceeded to Brown University (US) for further studies where he did his PhD in 1959. He was the first VC of Multan University (now Bahauddin Zakaria University). He also served as VC of Al-Khair University and remained PU VC from 1976 to 1984. Prof Khairat was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz Iqbal Centenary Medal from the government and Potter Prize by Brown University.

July 07: The former Sindh Assembly lawmaker and a senior politician Shafi Muhammad Jamot passed away.

July 08: The Sindh Police announced to have compiled its first ‘Black Book’ comprising every single detail of notified outlaws involved in heinous offenses.

July 08: Pakistan welcomed the new United Nations report on the situation in India-occupied Kashmir, which for the second consecutive year called for setting up of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) for investigating human rights abuses being perpetrated by Indian occupation troops in the valley.

July 09: The opposition submitted a no-trust motion against Senate chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani.

July 09: Deputy Collector of Customs Dr Abdul Qudoos Sheikh, who was badly beaten up by a group of armed smugglers in Quetta, succumbed to his injuries.

July 09: Renowned television, radio, film and theatre artiste Zaheen Tahira passed away.

July 09: New projections of the Unesco show that one in four Pakistani children will not be completing primary school by the deadline of 2030. The country will only be half-way to the target of 12 years of education for all, with 50 per cent of youths still not completing upper secondary education at the current rates.

July 11: Veteran journalist Mohammad Omer Qambrani passed away. He was 81.

July 11: Chief of the banned Tehreek Nifaz Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM) Maulana Sufi Muhammad, who spearheaded a violent movement for enforcement of Shariah in Malakand division, passed away. He was 86.

July 11: Legendary Olympian Abdul Hamid aka Brigadier Hamidi, who led Pakistan to its maiden gold medal victory at Rome Olympics in 1960, died. He was 92.

July 11: The President World Economic Forum (WEF) Børge Brende paid a visit to Pakistan. He said that Pakistan overcame problems of power blackouts and security improvement and now skill acceleration was required to cater the needs of 60 percent population of bulge youth of the country.

July 12: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) removed accountability court judge Arshad Malik over the video scandal.

July 12: The United States, China and Russia jointly welcomed Pakistan to a four-party consultation process that seeks to end the 18-year-old war and decades of blood-letting in Afghanistan.

July 12: The government removed National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman Jawwad Rafiq Malik and appointed retired Capt Sikandar Qayyum to the post.

July 12: Jawwad Rafiq Malik, a BS-22 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, was made secretary Communication Division.

July 12: Former unified light-welterweight world champion, Amir Khan, beat Australian boxer Billy Dib in Jeddah.

July 12: Pakistan Parliamentarians team lifted the Inter-Parliamentarian World Cup Cricket title beating Bangladesh by nine wickets in the final played in London.

July 12: Pakistan lost yet another case against Broadsheet LLC, as its plea has been dismissed by the London High Court, setting the total payable amount at more than 33 million dollars (Rs5.21 billion).

July 12: The State Bank of Pakistan launched a subsidised financing programme worth Rs100 billion for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

July 13: The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), one of the five organisations of the World Bank Group, announced a huge award of $5.976 billion against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.

A brief history of Reko Diq case

Feb 2011: Tethyan Copper Company applies for mining lease of Reko Diq.

Nov 2011: Balochistan summarily rejects the application.

Jan 12, 2012: Tethyan Copper Company registers case against Pakistan.

Jan. 7 2013: SC declares Reko Diq agreement void.

March 21, 2017: World Bank tribunal rules against Pakistan.

July 18, 2017: Balochistan rejects reports about $11.5bn penalty.

Jan 19, 2018: Pakistan faces %11.43bn damages claims.

July 13, 2019: WB court orders Pakistan to pay $5.9bn damages to Tethyan Copper.

July 13: Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar inaugurated the Mobile Police Khidmat Marakiz Programme at the Greater Iqbal Park.

July 14: Reacting to the $5.9 billion penalty awarded in the terminated Reko Diq mining contract, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered formation of a commission to investigate as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament.

July 15: The e-court system was formally launched in Quetta. On the opening day, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa heard five constitutional petitions and cases through video link. The other members of the bench were Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Umar Atta Bandial.

International

June 16: Suman Rao, a CA student from Rajasthan, emerged the winner of Miss India World 2019.

June 16: India’s Virat Kohli became the fastest player to reach 11,000 one-day international runs. He reached the landmark in his 222nd innings, surpassing Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, who crossed the 11,000-run mark in 276 innings.

June 16: China and the United Nations reached a “broad consensus” about counter-terror work.

June 16: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights.

June 16: The Group of 20 major economies, at a meeting in Japan, agreed a deal to reduce plastic waste that is choking the seas. Under the agreement, G20 member countries committed to reducing plastic waste.

June 16: An Israeli court convicted Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of fraudulently using state funds for meals, under a plea bargain.

June 16: A massive outage blacked out Argentina and Uruguay, leaving both South American countries without electricity.

June 17: Iran’s intelligence minister and top officials of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas agreed to “confront the dangers” of Washington’s peace plan for the Middle East.

June 17: World Food Safety Day was observed under the theme “Food Safety: everyone’s business”.

June 17: Demonstrators in Hong Kong gathered outside the office of the city’s leader, demanding that she step down in the crisis over an extradition bill.

June 17: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued its new report according to which the overall number of nuclear warheads in the world has declined in the past year but nations are modernising their arsenals. As per the report, at the start of 2019, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea had a total of some 13,865 nuclear weapons.

June 17: Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in 2013 after a year in office, collapsed in court while on trial and died.

June 18: Facebook unveiled plans for a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, pledging to bring stable virtual money that lives on smartphones and brings the “unbanked” billions into the financial system.

June 18: England captain Eoin Morgan set a new world record of 17 sixes in an individual One-day International innings, against Afghanistan.

June 19: China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure drive could speed up economic development and reduce poverty for dozens of developing countries, the World Bank said.

June 19: Brazil women’s football legend Marta scored a record 17th World Cup finals goal. The 33-year-old Marta is widely considered the best player in the history of the women’s game.

June 20: China recently played host to a Taliban delegation as part of efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

June 20: Iran shot down a US spy drone near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

June 20: Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei pleaded guilty at a trial in China to accepting $2.1 million in bribes.

June 20: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pyongyang during a historic visit to burnish an uneasy alliance.

June 20: Britain broke the law by allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia that might have been deployed in the war in Yemen, an English court ruled, after activists said there was evidence the weapons had been used in violation of human rights statutes.

June 20: The Nobel Museum in Stockholm was gifted Albert Einstein’s first paper published after he received the Nobel Prize in 1921 and discussing his then still controversial relativity theory.

June 21: US President Donald Trump aborted a military strike on Iran because it could have killed 150 people, a disproportionate res­ponse to Tehran’s downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone.

June 21: The head of Georgia’s parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, quit after at least 240 people were injured in a police crackdown on mass protests, which erupted over a controversial address to lawmakers by a Russian MP.

June 21: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office suspended Foreign Office Minister Mark Field while an investigation takes place into his treatment of a climate change protester at the gala Mansion House dinner.

June 21: Former Cyprus president Demetris Christofias died at the age of 72.

June 22: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, launched US State Department’s annual report on religious freedom.

June 22: Mark Esper took over as acting US Defense Secretary.

June 22: Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the group’s annual general meeting in the US. Saudi Arabia had been a founding member of the MENA arm of the group since November 2004.

With the kingdom becoming a FATF member, the number of permanent members in the group is now 39.

What is FATF?

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.  The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas. FATF Plenary is the decision making body. It meets three times a year.

June 22: Mauritania went to polls for the first time since the African nation gained independence from France nearly 60 years ago.

About Mauritania

One of Africa’s newest oil producers, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania bridges the Arab Maghreb and western sub-Saharan Africa. The largely-desert country presents a cultural contrast, with an Arab-Berber population to the north and black Africans to the south. Many of its people are nomad. Mauritania is rich in mineral resources, especially iron and ore.

Name: The Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Capital: Nouakchott

Population: 3.6 million

Area: 1.04 million sq km (398,000 sq miles)

Major languages: Arabic (official), French, others

Major religion: Islam

Life expectancy: 57 years (men), 61 years (women)

Currency: ouguiya

June 22: The United States announced that its Middle East peace plan – often called the Deal of the Century – aims to raise more than $50 billion for the Palestinians and create one million jobs for them within a decade.

June 22: Southeast Asian nations vowed to fight against plastic pollution in the ocean, as their leaders adopted a joint declaration during a summit in Bangkok.

June 22: Sri Lanka extended a law granting security forces emergency powers into a third month following the Easter Day bomb attacks.

June 23: China’s vice minister for agriculture Qu Dongyu was elected to lead the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). He is the first Chinese national to run the 74-year-old agency. His four-year term will start on 1 August.

June 23: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a major blow as the opposition candidate in Istanbul’s controversial mayoral election Ekrem Imamoglu won again.

June 23: Ethi­opia’s army chief and a top local leader were shot dead during an attempt to overthrow a regional government in the north of the country.

June 23: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) inaugurated its new headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

June 23: Feliciano Lopez became the oldest Queen’s singles champion aged 37, beating Frenchman Gilles Simon in a thrilling three-set clash.

June 23: Lewis Hamilton continued with his relentless run of success when he scorched to an emphatic victory ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix.

June 23: Roger Federer defeated Belgium’s David Goffin in straight sets to win a record-extending 10th title at the ATP event.

June 24: The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, warned that “climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress … in poverty reduction.”

June 24: Myanmar’s army may be committing gross human rights violations under cover of a mobile phone blackout in parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine and Chin states, UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee said.

June 24: NASA’s Curiosity Rover detected the highest ever levels of methane in the course of its mission on Mars, an exciting discovery because the gas could point to the existence of microbial life.

June 24: US President Donald Trump signed an order that targets Iran’s supreme leader and associates with additional financial sanctions.

June 24: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya resigned six months before the scheduled end of his term in office.

June 24: Italian mafia boss Rocco Morabito fled prison in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, where he was awaiting extradition to Italy.

June 24: Gulnara Karimova, the 46-year-old jailed daughter of Uzbekistan’s former leader Islam Karimov, begged his successor to release her after claiming she gave more than one billion dollars to the state.

June 26: Oman announced to open an embassy in the Palestinian territories in support of the Palestinian people, in a first for a Gulf Arab state.

June 26: India’s candidature for UN Security Council’s non-permanent seat was endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group that also includes Pakistan.

June 26: The Modi government appointed Samant Goel, an officer from the national police cadre, the new head of the external espionage agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

June 27: Indonesia’s constitutional court rejected a bid to overturn President Joko Widodo’s re-election victory and dismissed his defeated challenger’s claims of widespread voter fraud as groundless.

June 28: The temperature in France surpassed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time on record.

June 28: A federal judge prohibited President Donald Trump from tapping $2.5 billion in military funding to build high-priority segments of his prized border wall in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

June 29: A fresh round of talks between the US and the Taliban began in Qatar.

June 29: The Group of 20 summit concluded in Osaka, Japan.

June 30: Donald Trump stepped onto North Korean soil in a historic first as he met Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un in a moment of high diplomatic drama on the world’s last Cold War frontier.

June 30: The European Union signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), paving the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods between the 28-member bloc and the Southeast Asian country.

July 01: New Zealand officially banned single-use plastic shopping bags, introducing hefty fines for businesses that continue to provide them.

July 01: Iran announced that it had exceeded a limit on its enriched uranium reserves under a 2015 nuclear deal that has edged towards collapse as the US imposes a “maximum pressure” campaign.

July 01: Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters stormed the legislature on the anniversary of the city’s 1997 return to China.

July 02: The US State Department designated the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a global terrorist group, making it a crime for anyone in the US to assist the militants.

July 02: The United Arab Emirates announced to lift a decades-old cap on foreign ownership and allow full foreign control of business ventures.

July 02: German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was named to replace Jean-Claude Juncker at the head of the European Commission for the next five years.

July 02: Sri Lankan police arrested their top commander and a former defence chief over alleged failures to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 258 people.

July 02: Nasa carried out a successful test of a launch-abort system for the Orion capsule designed to take US astronauts to the Moon.

July 02: France’s parliament adopted a largely symbolic ban on parents smacking their children.

July 02: Norwegian researchers said an arctic fox walked from northern Norway to Canada’s far north, a distance of 4,415 kilometres in four months.

July 02: Bangladesh’s high court granted the country’s rivers the rights and status of “living entities” in a bid to save them from encroachment.

July 02: The OPEC bloc of oil producers formally signed a new charter of cooperation with other major producers – including Russia.

July 02: Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, was removed from UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites.

July 03: Italian socialist David-Maria Sassoli was elected to head the European Parliament.

July 03: President Vladimir Putin signed a bill suspending Russia‘s participation in a pivotal Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces arms treaty.

July 04: France’s lower house of parliament approved a small, pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook. The bill aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax EU countries. Currently, the companies pay nearly no tax in countries where they have large sales like France.

July 04: Kyrgyzstan handed citizenship to the last stateless people on its territory.

July 04: A 3,000-year-old quartzite head of Egyptian “Boy King” Tutankhamun was auctioned off for $6 million in London despite an outcry from Cairo.

July 05: Narendra Modi’s government unveiled its budget proposals for 2019-2020, seeking to reverse weakening growth and investment.

July 05: Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed banned the niqab, i.e. Muslim face covering for women in government offices “for security reasons”.

July 05: A landmark deal was struck between protest leaders and Sudan’s ruling generals. The power-sharing deal was brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators.

July 05: An Indian court granted a 30-day parole to a woman convicted three decades ago over her role in the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

July 05: Unesco’s World Heritage Committee enlisted the sprawling Mesopotamian metropolis of Babylon as a World Heritage Site.

July 06: Jordan banned the hugely popular but brutal online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), citing its “negative effects” on the kingdom’s citizens.

July 06: The Bulgarian-Greek film “The Father” won the top prize at the Karlovy Vary film festival in the Czech Republic.

July 06: India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma became the first player to hit five centuries in a single World Cup.

July 06: Bahrain’s Dilmun Burial Mounds was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The burial grounds include 21 archaeological sites in the western part of the island built between 2050 and 1750 BC.

July 06: The German city of Augsburg was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO for its over 800-year-old water management system.

July 06: Turkish Presi­dent Tayyip Erdogan sacked the central bank governor Murat Cetinkaya, whose four-year term was due to run until 2020 and replaced him with his deputy Murat Uysal.

July 06: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena announced he will not allow his government to conclude a proposed military deal that would allow US troops free access to the island’s ports.

July 07: Dozens of powerful Afghans including bitter rivals met the Taliban in Doha, discussing a possible ceasefire and the future of women and minorities after 18 years of conflict.

July 07: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat after a partial vote count showed opposition conservatives comfortably winning the first parliamentary election since the country emerged from its international bailouts. The conservative New Democracy party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis had 39.7 percent of the vote compared to Tsipras’s Syriza party with 31.5 percent after nearly 60 percent of ballots were tallied.

July 07: The United States won a record-extending fourth women’s football World Cup title with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands.

July 07: Britain’s ambassador to the United States described President Donald Trump’s administration as “dysfunctional”, “clumsy” and “inept” in leaked memos.

July 07: Eight-time Wimbledon singles champion Roger Federer won a record 350th match in Grand Slams.

July 08: Latvia’s new President Egils Levits was sworn into office.

July 08: Iran breached a uranium enrichment cap set by a troubled 2015 nuclear deal and warned Europe against taking retaliatory measures.

July 08: Amnesty International urgently called for international pressure and an immediate UN investigation to help end possible crimes against humanity in the Philippine president’s bloody anti-drug crackdown.

July 08: Brazil beat Peru to win Copa America 2019, their first South American title since 2007.

July 08: Mexico defeated the United States to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

July 09: Taliban representatives and influential Afghans claimed to have reached a landmark roadmap for peace, which commits the militants to avoid attacking civilians and civilian institutions.

July 09: US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad left Doha for Beijing and Washington for consultations after another “positive” round of talks with Taliban representatives.

July 09: A former UN official Peter John Dalglish was jailed for sexually abusing children in Nepal.

July 09: China urged Washington to “immediately cancel” the potential sale of $2.2 billion in weapons to Taiwan.

July 09: Former Argentine President Fernando De la Rúa, who attracted voters with his image as an honest statesman and later left as the country plunged into its worst economic crisis, died at age 81.

July 09: Paris, which in 2015 hosted the signing of a historic agreement on fighting global warming, declared a climate emergency following similar moves by other cities and national parliaments.

July 09: French MPs passed a landmark law to fight online hate speech.

July 10: Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, resigned after being targeted by US President Donald Trump over the leak of highly critical diplomatic cables.

July 11: Thousands of universities around the world declared a “climate emergency” and committed themselves with the United Nations to fighting climate change, in an effort to mobilise their students.

July 11: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to exclude former Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko from taking part in the Olympic Games.

July 12: UN ambassadors from 37 countries released a letter defending China’s treatment of Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region.

July 12: US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned, amid a backlash over a secret plea deal he negotiated a decade ago with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sexually abusing young girls.

July 12: French President Emmanuel Macron launched the first of a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines the Suffren which is the frontrunner for a new line of Barracuda attack-class vessels.

July 12: The Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) named leg spinner Rashid Khan captain across all the major formats.

July 12: Turkey received the first batch of Russia´s S-400 missile defence system, sparking NATO “concern” and risking deepening tensions with the United States.

July 13: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed a review of Argentina’s economic performance, allowing the release of $5.4 billion to the country in a loan program intended to help stabilise its economy.

July 13: Japanese authorities set up a working group to discuss the impact Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin could have on monetary policy and financial regulation.

July 13: US regulators approved a $5 billion penalty to be levied on Facebook to settle a probe into the social network’s privacy and data protection lapses.

July 13: Simona Halep became the first Romanian woman to win Wimbledon, when she defeated Serena Williams of the United States.

July 13: Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands broke the 23-year-old women’s mile world record by clocking 4 minutes 12.33 seconds.

July 14: England won the World Cup for the first time as they beat New Zealand in a dramatic Super Over after a nerve-shredding final ended in a tie at Lord’s.

July 14: Qatar inaugurated its largest coast guard base as a standoff between Iran and the United States continues to boost tensions in strategic Gulf waters.

July 14: Bangladesh’s former military dictator H. M. Ershad, who had seized power in a 1982 coup, died. He was 89.

July 14: Novak Djokovic lifted his fifth Wimbledon crown after he defeated Roger Federer in the longest singles final in the tournament’s 133-year history.

July 14: Xin Xin of China won the women’s 10-kilometre open water event, lifting China to its fourth gold medal of the world swimming championships.

July 14: Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton won a record sixth British Grand Prix.

July 15: Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha formally resigned as the head of the military government.

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