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WORLD IN FOCUS

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

11-05-2012    The News
Pakistan, Germany sign deal: Pakistan and Germany successfully concluded joint bilateral development cooperation of 15.7 million euros (Rs. 1.583 billion), according to an official statement of the German embassy.

Germany’s financial contribution for 2011 and 2012 now amounts to 127 million euros (Rs. 14.968 billion) in total.

12-05-2012    Dawn
Green benches constituted all over the country: All the high courts of the country as well as the Supreme Court of AJK have constituted ‘green benches’ to hear cases, pertaining to environmental issues.

The decision to dedicate green benches have been taken as a follow up to the recommendations taken at the ‘Bhurban Declaration 2012′ A Common Vision on Environment for the South Asian Judiciaries’ during South Asian Conference on Environmental Justice held from March 24 to 25 under the aegis of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

15-05-2012    Dawn
Shah elected head of key NA committee: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the election of chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), thanks to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F). PPP’s Syed Khursheed Shah was re-elected as the chairman of the 12-member committee having equal representation of the government and the opposition by securing seven votes against five votes polled for Tehmina Daultana of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

15-05-2012    The News
Pakistan joins Global Securities Regulatory Board: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been elected to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Board established at the IOSCO annual conference in Beijing.

17-05-2012    Dawn
Pakistan signs regional power supply agreement: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic signed a protocol for the early completion of a regional electricity transmission project for which Russia has offered a financing facility of $500 million.

The Inter-Governmental Council meeting for CASA-1000, attended by the power ministers of the four countries, agreed to take concrete measures for the implementation of the project after two-day talks in Dubai.

19-05-2012        Daily Times

IDB, ADB ink $133m accord for wind power projects in Sindh: Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $133 million agreement for long-term lease finance (Ijara) facility for the development of two wind power projects in Sindh province. A consortium of financial institutions comprising National Bank of Pakistan, Faysal Bank, United Bank Limited, Allied Bank and Meezan Bank are also participating in the transaction.

20-05-2012    The News
Asif, Karzai agree to extend APTTA to CARs: Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed in principle to extend the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) beyond Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republicans (CARs).

It was decided during a meeting of President Asif Ali Zardari with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, who met Chicago on the sidelines of the 25th Nato summit.

21-05-2012    Dawn
Erdogan visit brings respite for Gilani: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan vowed to always stand by Pakistan in the hour of trial. Addressing the joint session of the parliament, he said the two countries would continue to strengthen their close ties in different fields.

Turkish Prime Minister has become the only foreign dignitary in Pakistan’s Parliamentary history to have addressed the Parliament of Pakistan twice.

21-05-2012    The News
Parliament roadmap to guide Nato deal: President Asif Ali Zardari told Nato leaders that Parliament had provided a roadmap for negotiating the issue of blocked Nato supplies, and that the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) had issued directives to the Pakistani government to reach a deal with the United States on reopening its.

The 2012 Chicago Summit was held in Chicago, Illinois, on 20 and 21 May 2012. This was the first time ever that a Nato summit held in the United States outside of the nation’s capital. The participants were the heads of states and heads of governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

21-05-2012    The News
Saving Face wins Saarc’s best documentary award: Pakistan won its first Saarc Film Award for the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Saving Face’ that chronicles the work of a British plastic surgeon who rebuilds the faces of women disfigured by acid attacks. Another Pakistani movie nominated for the awards was Mehreen Jabbar’s directed ‘Raam Chand Pakistani’ which bagged Silver Medal in the Best Feature Film category.

22-05-2012    Dawn
Air Marshal Rao Qamar also given post of PIA chairman: The government removed the defence minister from the position of chairman PIA and gave the charge to its Managing Director Air Chief Marshal (retd.) Rao Qamar Suleman.

22-05-2012    Dawn
Investment treaty with Turkey signed: Pakistan and Turkey have signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty, exchanged eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and protocols to enhance economic cooperation and resolved to increase their trade volume by finalising a preferential trade agreement.

22-05-2012    The News
China approves $448 million loan for Neelum-Jhelum project: China’s EXIM bank approved the much-awaited loan of $448 million for the strategic 969 megawatt Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project.

According to the Indus Waters Treaty, the country that first completes its project on Neelum tributary will have priority rights on the water of Neelum River. Now with the approval of $448 million loan for the project, China has bailed out Pakistan and concerns over the slowdown in pace of completing the project have evaporated.

23-05-2012    Dawn
‘Peace pipeline’ accords signed: Turkmenistan signed agreements with India and Pakistan to deliver gas through a new pipeline that will transit Afghanistan, the first contracts in the ambitious project.

The 1,700km Tapi pipeline aims to transport more than 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Turkmenistan to energy-hungry consumers in Pakistan and India as well as relieving shortages in Afghanistan.

23-05-2012    Dawn
Dr Afridi jailed for 33 years for helping CIA: Dr Shakil Afridi, accused of helping the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) acquire DNA samples of members of Osama bin Laden’s family, was sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason.

Dr Afridi who worked as a government surgeon was also fined Rs. 320,000 and in case of default, he would have to undergo an additional three years imprisonment.

24-05-2012    Dawn
Pakistan’s world record in IT: A Pakistani student, Shayan Anique Akhtar, has set a world record in Microsoft Professional Certificate programme by achieving 998 marks out of 1000. Shayan’s name has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records.

26-05-2012    Dawn
Stop military operation, find political solution: Mainstream and nationalist political parties unanimously called upon the government to stop the military operation in Balochistan, take steps for resolving the missing persons issue and work for a political solution to heal the province’s wounds.

RESOLUTION:

The conference adopted a resolution unanimously which read:

The politics of garrison should be replaced by the civilian authorities that genuinely represent the will of the people.

It is crucial to ensure that all those responsible for authoring and killing of Akbar Bugti should be forthwith arrested and brought to justice in an open trial.

The situation in Balochistan is complex and solutions too, must be found in multiple directions, including renegotiation of the question of provincial autonomy with economic resources to the province.

Nevertheless, the participants emphasised that the crisis was one which could only be resolved through political dialogue, negotiations and through building confidence between the people of Balochistan and the federal government.

Post-introduction of the 18th Amendment, an effective mechanism should also be set up to ensure that all natural resources in Balochistan are under the control of people of the area, while peaceful negotiations continue to meet new challenges.

All those citizens of Pakistan who are long settled in Balochistan irrespective of their language, caste or belief be equally respected and their social and economic rights be protected.

A concerted effort should be made to respect the economic, ethnic, linguistic and cultural rights of all those living in Pakistan and, in particular, of the Baloch nation.

This consultation recognises that diversity of cultures in the country and aspires to celebrate it rather than oppress it.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan should be commended for taking up the case of missing people in Balochistan but the conference urges that those accused of heinous crimes of killings and disappearances should be brought to justice.

An inter-parliamentary committee should prepare a white paper on the human rights violations carried out in Balochistan during the Musharraf regime to the present day. The report should be presented and discussed in parliament.

All political prisoners and missing persons in custody of different state agencies be released forthwith.

All religious leaders should commit themselves to create the culture of tolerance and religious harmony.

29-05-2012    Dawn
Gilani opens first solar grid station: Calling for a ‘socially responsible attitude of the nation in the prevailing energy crisis, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that ‘electricity should not be used as a luxury but to fulfil the country’s optimal requirements’.

‘Simply switching off the electric gadgets from standby mode and using less energy-consuming lights and machines would save a lot of electricity to reduce the demand-supply gap,’ he said while inaugurating the first solar grid station set up in Islamabad.

29-05-2012    Dawn
Pakistan tests N-capable missile: Pakistan had successfully test-fired a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile. The Hatf IX has a range of only 60 kilometres (37 miles) and can carry conventional warheads.

It was the third time Pakistan has test-fired a ballistic missile since India launched, in April its new long-range Agni V capable of hitting targets anywhere in China and Pakistan.

29-05-2012    Dawn
Avalanche victims declared martyrs:
All the 139 people, 124 of them soldiers, buried in snow when they were hit by an avalanche in Gayari sector of Siachen over 50 days ago have been declared martyrs.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the nature and magnitude of the calamity suggested that there was no probability of recovering any person alive.

30-05-2012    Dawn
Russia follows China, soothes tense Pakistan:
Russia joined the Chinese in extending political support to Pakistan at a time when it appears to have been isolated by its western friends.

Ambassador Zamir Kabulov, Russian President’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan, in his meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani spoke about the ‘enormous commonalities’ between Moscow and Islamabad on regional issues.

30-05-2012    Dawn
President signs human rights bill into law:
President Asif Ali Zardari signed the National Commission for Human Rights Bill, 2012 for promotion and protection of human rights as provided by the Constitution of Pakistan and various international instruments to which Pakistan is a state party or shall become a state party.

30-05-2012    Daily Times
5 Pakistani universities among 300 top Asian universities:
Investment in higher education in the country continues to reap dividends as according to QS World Universities Rankings 2012, five Pakistani universities have won a place in the list of top 300 universities in Asia.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) UK is the world’s most renowned and prestigious ranking agency. National University of Science and Technology (NUST-108), Karachi University, AKU, Lahore University of Management Sciences and Lahore University are now in top 300 Asian universities.

31-05-2012    Dawn
Accord to buy 1,000 MW from Iran signed:
Pakistan signed an agreement with Iran for purchase of 1,000 MW electricity, said a spokesman for the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC).

31-05-2012    Dawn
President sends reference on new provinces:
President Asif Ali Zardari sent a reference to the Speaker of the National Assembly, calling for the formation of a commission comprising six senators, six MNAs and two members of the Punjab Assembly to look into issues relating to creation of two new provinces, Multan and Bahawalpur, and initiate the process of amendments to the Constitution for the purpose.

31-05-2012        Dawn
Pakistan test-fires cruise missile:
Pakistan test-fired an air cruise missile, Hatf VIII (Ra’ad), which is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

Besides being the fourth flight test of the Raad, the test was also the fourth one featuring any of the missiles during the last five weeks. The other missiles tested were: Short-Range, Surface-to-Surface, Multi-Tube Missile Hatf IX (Nasr); Short-Range, Ballistic Missile Hatf III (Ghaznavi); and Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile Hatf IV (Shaheen-1A).

31-05-2012    Dawn
Shamshad made UN assistant secretary-general:
Shamshad Akhtar, former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, was appointed United Nations Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a UN spokesman announced.

Ms Akhtar, until recently Vice President for Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, was selected by the UN Secretary-General for the post which is of crucial importance during the current global financial turmoil.

04-06-2012    The News
Pakistani student scales Africa’s highest peak:
Tanzania-based 18-year old Pakistani student Alveena has brought laurels for the country by scaling Africa’s highest peak, 5895-metre Kilimanjaro. Alveena is the first Pakistani woman to climb this peak.

05-06-2012    Dawn
Japan honours PAF men:
Japan honoured a team of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel for transporting to the federal capital the Japanese tourists who were stranded in Gilgit because of sectarian violence in April.

At a ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oe presented an ‘award of excellence’ to the 17-member team for the evacuation of 77 Japanese tourists on
April 8.

05-06-2012    Dawn
Pakistan test-fires N-capable missile:
Pakistan tested a fifth nuclear-capable missile since India launched a new long-range weapon capable of hitting China just over six weeks ago.

The Hatf VII cruise missile has a range of 700 kilometres (440 miles), can carry conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities. This test was Pakistan’s fifth of a nuclear-capable missile since April 25.

05-06-2012    The News
Pakistan WB sign $200m gas agreement:
Pakistan and the World Bank (WB) signed a loan agreement under which the bank would provide $200 million assistance for Natural Gas Efficiency Project to enhance over all gas supply in the country.

The Project will be implemented by SSGC and it aims to enhance the supply of natural gas in Pakistan by reducing the physical and commercial losses of gas in the pipeline system and improve the operational capacity of SSGC.

06-06-2012    Dawn
Students Welfare Bond launched:
The National Savings Organisation launched a new scheme for students and another one for small savers. The Students Welfare Bond bearing denomination of Rs100 will be available at saving centres, State Bank and commercial banks by August, 2012.

07-06-2012    Dawn
US losing patience with Pakistan:
The US military chief and lawmakers backed their Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, saying that the United States indeed was running out of patience with Pakistan. Mr Panetta warned Pakistan to stop supporting the Haqqani network or face the consequences as the US was ‘running out of patience’ with this attitude.

06-06-2012    Dawn
Accords signed with China:
Pakistan and China signed three memorandums of understanding covering supply of water from Tarbela to Islamabad, establishment of Special Economic Zone in the proposed city of Zulfikarabad in Sindh and construction of 6,000 flats in I-15 sector on the basis of private-public partnership and an agreement for de-silting of canals and barrages in Sindh.

Current Pakistan International Affairs

11-05-2012    Daily Monitor

UN guidelines against ‘land grabbing’: The UN adopted global guidelines to defend the land rights of poor farmers and recognise informal indigenous claims in a move hailed by aid groups as a step against exploitative ‘land grabbing’.

The new voluntary rules are the result of three years of negotiations following an outcry from campaigners who accuse rich investors and developing world governments of setting up plantations that abuse human rights.

11-05-2012    Khaleej Times
EU, Iraq sign first-ever partnership deal:
The European Union and Iraq signed their first partnership agreement, opening the way to a slew of trade and energy deals as well as improved cooperation to combat terrorism. ‘We’re opening a new chapter’ said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at a signing ceremony with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

12-05-2012    The Economic Times
India signs $560 million howitzer deal with US:
India has agreed a $560 million deal to buy 145 howitzer guns from BAE Systems of the United States as it moves ahead to upgrade its antiquated military hardware. India is updating its military capabilities with hardware worth tens of billions of dollars.

13-05-2012    The National
German opposition wins major state vote:
Voters in Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia strengthened a centre-left regional government which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives had portrayed as irresponsibly spendthrift, and inflicted an embarrassingly heavy defeat on the German leader’s party, projections showed. The centre-left Social Democrats and Greens Germany’s main opposition parties won combined support of about 51 per cent in the election in state, according to ARD television projections based on exit polls and early counting.

14-05-2012    Hindustan Times
Earliest wall art found in France:
A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a study published.

The 1.5 metric ton ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well-known archaeological site in south-western France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.

15-05-2012    The Guardian
Israel putting any two-state peace deal at risk: EU:
The European Union has warned that the prospect of a peaceful and viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, involving two states side by side, is in jeopardy because of Israeli actions.

In a sharply critical statement issued in Brussels, the EU foreign affairs council warned that the acceleration of settlement construction, evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem, settler violence and provocations, and worsening conditions for Palestinians in most of the West Bank ‘threaten to make a two-state solution impossible’.

15-05-2012    The Daily Star
Hollande vows new strategy for France and Europe:
Franois Hollande was sworn in as president of France with a solemn vow to find a new growth-led strategy to end the crippling debt crisis threatening to unravel the eurozone.

Mr Hollande also named his new prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a 62year-old long-time Hollande ally and the head of the Socialists` parliamentary bloc, who was tipped as favourite.

15-05-2012    The New York Times
Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike:
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have ended a hunger strike that had lasted for weeks, signing an agreement with the Israeli authorities that promised improved conditions, according to officials. The end of the strike calmed fears of widespread unrest in the event of a prisoner’s death.

17-05-2012    Global Times
Pay cuts for French president, ministers:
French leader Francois Hollande’s new Socialist government ordered a 30 per cent pay cut for the president and ministers as it held its first cabinet session. The move was aimed at drawing a clear distinction between Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose salary famously increased by 170 percent to 19,000 euros ($24,000) per month after he took office in 2007.

17-05-2012    The Korea Herald
S. Korea unveils world’s fourth fastest train:
South Korea unveiled a fully working prototype of its new high-speed train, HEMU-430X, which can operate at up to 430 kilometres per hour. The new train is the world’s fourth fastest after similar trains developed by France, Japan and China.

19-05-2012    The Guardian
UN orders sanctions against Guinea-Bissau coup leaders:
The UN Security Council unanimously ordered sanctions against the leaders of last month’s military coup in Guinea-Bissau and warned it was ready to take new measures.

The 15-nation council ordered a travel ban against five top military officers in the West African nation, led by chief of staff General Antonio Indjai.

19-05-2012    Kyiv Post
73-year-old woman climbs Everest for second time:
For the second time, a Japanese woman became the world’s oldest woman to climb Mount Everest, repeating her own record set 10 years ago. Tamae Watanabe, 73, reached the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) summit with a Japanese partner and three Nepali Sherpa guides.

19-05-2012    Gulf Times
East Timor marks 10th anniversary, gets new president:
Former guerrilla leader and ex-army chief Taur Matan Ruak was sworn in as East Timor’s new president as the young democracy, devastated by decades of conflict, celebrates 10 years of independence.

Ruak takes over from Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate whose international stature injected prominence to the largely ceremonial role, ahead of Independence Day celebrations.

20-05-2012    The Sun
Adele wins lvor Novello Awards:
Adele won two awards at the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards ceremony in London. Continuing her dream run of success, Adele scooped up awards for Most Performed Work for her single, ‘Rolling in the Deep’and Songwriter of the Year.

21-05-2012    The Strait Times
World’s smallest artificial heart implanted:
Italian doctors, in March, implanted the smallest ever artificial heart into a 16-month-old baby before the infant received a permanent organ donation, said the hospital that performed the operation. ‘In March, the smallest artificial heart in the world was implanted at the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.

22-05-2012    Jakarta Globe
Malaysia, Australia sign free-trade deal:
Malaysia and Australia signed a free trade agreement (FTA) that will strip away tariffs and which Canberra hopes will help jump-start negotiations with China, South Korea and Japan.
The agreement inked in Kuala Lumpur will grant Malaysian exporters duty-free entry into the Australian market.

22-05-2012    The Telegraph
World’s tallest free-standing tower opens in Japan:
The Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest free-standing tower and the Japanese capital’s newest landmark, opens to the public. Costing 65 billion yen (£517m) to complete, Tokyo’s new landmark Skytree opened to the general public after four years in construction, The tower built by Japan’s Tobu Railway Company, stands 634 metres (2,080ft) tall, making it the world’s second tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands at 829 metres (2720 ft). Tokyo Skytree is now the world’s tallest free-standing broadcast tower ahead of the Canton Tower in China which scales 600 metres (1,968 ft).

23-05-2012    The Telegraph
Russia tests new missile after Nato summit:
Russia staged the first successful test-launch of a new intercontinental missile designed to pierce the defence system now being deployed by Nato despite Moscow’s fierce complaints. The rocket still has no formal name but is being billed by the military as a “fifth generation” weapon that substantially upgrades the technology used by its already-feared feared Topol-M and Yars systems.

24-05-2012    The China Post
UN ignores Syria’s complaint, extends Pillay’s term:
The UN General Assembly unanimously gave UN human rights chief Navi Pillay a new two-year term over Syria’s complaints about her ‘hostile’ attitude.

The 193-nation assembly gave the new term by acclamation without a vote, 10 days after UN leader Ban Ki-moon said he wanted to keep Pillay in her high-profile post.

24-05-2012    The Independent
Australian tycoon world’s richest woman:
Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has eclipsed Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton to become the world’s wealthiest woman, according to an annual index by Business Review Weekly.

A preview of the respected BRW Rich 200 list, published, put the mining tycoon’s personal fortune at Aus$29.17 billion (US$28.48 billion), a figure that sees her outstrip Walton for the first time.

24-05-2012    The China Post
India test-fires medium-range Akash missile:
India has successfully test-fired its medium-range Akash surface-to-air missile from a base in Odisha. The indigenously developed missile, which has a range of 27 km and an effective ceiling of 15 km, was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range of Chandipur (ITR) in the costal district of Balasore. The 700-kg missile can carry a 60-kg warhead.

24-05-2012    The Straits Times
Private spacecraft completes ‘fly-under’ of ISS:
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully completed a fly-under of the International Space Station, a key milestone in its groundbreaking test flight for private enterprise, NASA said.

Next, the unmanned spacecraft owned by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk will attempt to latch onto the station to unload the half ton of supplies it has brought to space and then get restocked with gear to return to Earth.

24-05-2012    The Telegraph
Amnesty assails US for Osama raid:
Amnesty International has condemned the United States for the ‘unlawful’ commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

‘The US administration made clear that the operation had been conducted under the US’s theory of a global armed conflict between the US and al-Qaeda in which the US does not recognise the applicability of international human rights law’ the Amnesty said in its annual report released.

24-05-2012    Asian Tribune
US State Dept names Abdallah Azzam Brigades terrorist group:
The US State Department has designated the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, a group based in Lebanon and the Arabian Peninsula and accused of indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, it said.

26-05-2012    Deccan Chronicle
Afghanistan’s parliament approves US strategic pact:
Afghanistan’s parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to ratify a strategic partnership agreement with the United States signed in May. ‘We voted with a majority in favour of the strategic pact’ MP Shukria Essakhil said. ‘Only five MPs voted against it’ she said, adding that around 190 lawmakers out of 249 were present for the open vote.

28-05-2012    Global Post
India signs 12 accords with Myanmar:
India agreed a raft of deals with Myanmar during a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh aimed at boosting trade and energy links and contesting the influence of regional rival China.

The first Indian premier to visit in a quarter of a century, Singh met President Thein Sein in the capital Naypyidaw as energy-hungry New Delhi woos Myanmar after dramatic reforms ended its international isolation.

28-05-2012    The Times of India
India test-fires surface-to-air Akash missile:
India test-fired two indigenously developed surface-to-air anti-aircraft ‘Akash’ missiles from the integrated test range at Chandipur.

The double test-fire came after trials of the missile with a range of 25km on May 24 and 26. The missile is capable of carrying a warhead of 60kg.

28-05-2012    The Screen Daily
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke wins Plame d’ Or as Cannes concludes:
The 65th edition of Cannes film festival concluded after 12 days of screenings, premieres and parties. Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’ Amour (Love)’ beat 21 other contenders and won the top prize at the festival. Michael joined an elite group of two-time winners of the Palme d’Or, having won the same prize in ’09 with The White Ribbon.

29-05-2012    Taipei Times
Philippines top judge fired over $2.4m scam:
Senators fired the Philippines’ Supreme Court chief justice Renats Corona for failing to declare $2.4 million in bank accounts in a politically-coloured trial that has reinvigorated President Benigno Aquino III’s campaign to clean up the government.

Justice Renato Corona said that his omission was not an impeachable offence and that a 1974 bank privacy law protects foreign deposits from disclosure, while prosecutors argued the constitution mandates a full declaration of assets for someone in his position.

29-05-2012    Sudan Tribune
Sudan withdraws troops from Abyei:
Sudanese troops withdrew from the contested region of Abyei on the border with South Sudan, as demanded by the United Nations, state-linked media reported.

‘SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces) deployed out of Abyei area this evening and they gave the military compound there to UN peacekeepers’ said the Sudanese Media Centre (SMC), which is close to the security apparatus.

30-05-2012    The New York Times
Court orders founder of WikiLeaks to Sweden:
The highest court in Britain ruled that the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, should be deported to Sweden to face allegations of sexual abuse there, the culmination of an 18-month legal battle. By a 5-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court denied Mr Assange’s appeal.

02-06-2012    Dawn
Mubarak, security chief get life terms:
Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak and his security chief were given life in prison over the deaths of protesters in 2011. Judge Ahmed Refaat sentenced the 84-year-old former leader and his interior minister Habib al-Adly to life for their role in the deaths of protesters during the revolt that ousted them, but acquitted the six security commanders on the same charges.

05-06-2012    The New York Times
Syria declares western diplomats personae non gratae:
Syria declared diplomats of several major western states and Turkey as personae non gratae as Russia and China, which have stalled western-led UN moves against Damascus, began talks focused on the crisis.

The foreign ministry said it made the move against the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Turkey, among others, in response to the expulsion of its own diplomats, in the aftermath of last month’s Houla massacre.

05-06-2012    The Telegraph
Plane makes first sun-powered intercontinental flight:
A Swiss pilot, Bertrand Piccard, flew a solar plane across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain into Moroccan airspace on the world’s first intercontinental flight in a plane powered by the sun. The 54-year-old psychiatrist and balloonist, Piccard, took off before dawn from Madrid in the Solar Impulse, an aircraft as big as an Airbus A340 but as light as an average family car.

The voyage, 2,500 kilometres overall, is also intended as a rehearsal for Solar Impulse’s round-the-world flight planned for 2014. It holds the record for the longest flight by a manned solar powered aeroplane after staying aloft for 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds above Switzerland, also setting a record for altitude by flying at 9,235 metres.

05-06-2012    The Washington Post
New Zealand signs accord with Nato:
New Zealand has signed a partnership agreement with Nato. The agreement states that despite its distance from member nations, New Zealand can partner with Nato on issues like terrorism, military training and intelligence. The deal was signed in Brussels by NZ Prime Minister John Key and Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

06-06-2012    The Gulf Today
Assad appoints new PM as clashes rock Damascus:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new prime minister in the wake of a boycotted parliamentary election, as rebels went on the offensive in Damascus. The appointment of agriculture minister Riad Hijab as premier comes less than a week after a defiant Assad dismissed allegations that his government had a hand in last month’s Houla massacre.

07-06-2012    The China Post
SCO admits Afghanistan as observer:
China, Russia and four Central Asian states granted Afghanistan observer status in their regional group, moving to consolidate ties with the impoverished, war-torn nation before most foreign combat troops depart by the end of 2014.

Afghanistan joins India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as SCO observer states. The group also admitted Turkey as one of its three dialogue partners.

07-06-2012    The Telegraph
Defence secretary warns of plans to downsize army:
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that the British Army would be forced to rely more heavily on reservists and contractors in the future.

In excerpts released ahead of his speech at the Royal United Services Institute, Mr Hammond acknowledged that whole units would disappear as the regular army shrunk by 20,000 in the coming year.

08-06-2012    China Daily
Pneumonia, diarrhoea are top kills of kids:
Pneumonia and diarrhoea are among the top causes of childhood deaths around the world, particularly among the poor, said a report by the UN Children’s Fund.
Unicef said that while these two diseases kill more than two million children each year, making up 29 per cent of child deaths under age five worldwide.

08-06-2012    The Vancouver Sun
Einstein was right, neutrino researchers admit:
Scientists said that an experiment which challenged Einstein’s theory on the speed of light had been flawed and that sub-atomic particles ‘like everything else’ are indeed bound by the universe’s speed limit.

SPORTS

12-05-2012    The Herald Times
Groth shatters fastest serve record:
Australian Samuel Groth, the world number 340, has broken the record for the fastest serve in tennis with a serve of 263km/h during a Challenger Tournament in Busan, South Korea, the ATP announced. The record had been held by giant Croat Ivo Karlovic, who fired down a 251km/h serve during a Davis Cup match against Germany in March 2011. Groth, 24, broke the record during a defeat by Belarusian Uladzimir Ignatik in the second round of the tournament.

13-05-2012    Chicago Tribune
Comeback kings City seal title in dramatic finish to season:
Manchester City claimed their first English title in 44 years in barely believable circumstances as stoppage time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero snatched a 3-2 home victory over Queens Park Rangers.

15-05-2012    The Sun
Dickie Bird honoured with OBE award:
English umpiring great Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird was presented with an honour at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his outstanding sporting career and charity work. The 79-year-old was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), receiving the honour from Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, at the investiture ceremony in London.

Bird, from Barnsley in Yorkshire, northern England, stood in what was then a world record 66 Tests from 1973 to 1996 before stepping down as a Test umpire.

19-05-2012    The News
Mohsin sets new record in 110m hurdles:
Mohsin of Pakistan Air Force set a national record in the 110m hurdles by crossing the line in just 13.74 seconds on the second day of the 44th National Athletics Championship at the Jinnah Stadium.

20-05-2012    Daily Guide
Chelsea clinch historic Champions League crown:
Didier Drogba was the hero as Chelsea won a historic first Champions League crown to shatter Bayern Munich’s dreams of winning the title at their home stadium.

Drogba stepped up to rifle home the decisive penalty as Chelsea clinched a 4-3 shoot-out victory after 120 minutes of nerve-shredding drama at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.

20-05-2012    Bangkok Post
Kyokutenho becomes oldest to win sumo title:
Mongolian-born Kyokutenho became the oldest wrestler in modern times to win his first career sumo title, beating the previous record set in 1929.

The 37-year-old slapped down Tochiozan, 12 years his junior, in the play-off for the Emperor’s Cup after they stood level with 12 wins and three losses at the end of the regular 15-day tournament.

20-05-2012    Times of India
Stuart Broad completes Lord’s Test treble:
Stuart Broad became only the fourth player in history to take five wickets in an innings, 10 in a match and score a century in Tests at Lord’s after completing a haul of 11 for 165 against the West Indies.

21-05-2012    The Independent
Nadal regains Rome title:
Rafael Nadal enjoyed the perfect fillip ahead of his French Open defence with a commanding 7-5, 6-3 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in the delayed Rome Masters final.

22-05-2012    The Guardian
Fifa names first woman to executive committee:
Fifa has appointed the first woman to its executive committee, as world football’s governing body bids to restore its image after a series of corruption scandals.

Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, has been co-opted onto the executive committee and will be formally installed at the FIFA Congress in Budapest.

23-05-2012    The Telegraph
Daredevil leaps from plane without parachute:
A British stuntman Gary Connery became the world’s first skydiver to land without a parachute, falling 731 metres to drop safely onto a crash-pad of cardboard boxes.

Wearing a specially-made ‘wing suit’ Gary Connery leapt from a helicopter over Henley-on-Thames in southern England, aiming with his life hanging in the balance at a ‘runway’ of 18,000 cardboard boxes. Connery, who has appeared as a stuntman in films including ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ and the Bond movie ‘Die Another Day” said the experience had been ‘absolutely amazing.

26-05-2012    Shanghai Daily
China win Uber Cup:
World number one Wang Yihan dramatically survived four match points in an epic singles contest as hosts China won the women’s Uber Cup, laying to rest the ghosts of two years ago. The 3-0 win makes it China’s 12th Uber Cup victory since the competition began in 1957.

26-05-2012    Dawn
Another honour for Aleem Dar:
Pakistan’s Aleem Dar, cricketing world’s leading umpire, has added another feather in his cap when he became Asia’s most experienced adjudicator at the Test match level while he began officiating in the second Test between England and the West Indies that began at Trent Bridge. Aleem, 43, surpassed India’s S. Venkataraghavan’s record of 73 Tests.

27-05-2012    Deccan Chronicle
Kolkata take maiden IPL title:
Little-known Manvinder Bisla and veteran South African Jacques Kallis led Kolkata Knight Riders to thrilling 5-wicket victory in the final of 5th Indian Premier League (IPL) against defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

28-05-2012    Chicago Tribune
Federer achieves another landmark with 233rd win:
Roger Federerâ’s bid for a record 17th major tennis title began with another landmark, when he won his 233rd match at a Grand Slam event, equalling the achievement of Jimmy Connors.

Federer beat German Tobias Kamke 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open and can surpass American Connors’s professional-era record by continuing his progress.

31-05-2012    The New York Times
White-knuckled, champion holds on to world chess title:
Viswanathan Anand has retained the world chess championship by defeating Boris Gelfand in a series of tiebreakers in a title match in Moscow.

Mr Anand, who is from India, earned $1.4 million for the victory; Mr Gelfand, an Israeli, will receive $1.1 million. Mr Anand, 42, has been the champion since 2007 and went into the match as the clear favourite.

03-06-2012    The Gulf Today
New Zealand claim Azlan Shah Cup:
New Zealand beat Argentina 1-0, in a tough and thrilling final clash, to lift the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s hockey tournament that bodes well for the Black Sticks in the London Olympics. It is their maiden win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

07-06-2012    The News
Philander SA cricketer of year:
New ball bowler Vernon Philander was named South African cricketer of the year following a sensational entry into Test cricket during the 2011-12 season. Philander, 26, took 51 wickets in seven Tests at an average of 14.15. He took five or more wickets in an innings on six occasions and twice claimed 10 wickets in a match.

Cricketer of the year: Vernon Philander
Test cricketer of the year: Philander
One-day international cricketer of the year: AB de Villiers
Twenty20 international cricketer of the year: Richard Levi
Players’ player of the year: De Villiers
Newcomer of the year: Marchant de Lange
Outstanding individual performance: Richard Levi.

08-06-2012    Lakbima News
ICC picks Malinga to promote T20:
The International Cricket Council (ICC) named Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga as the event ambassador for the World Twenty20 to be held in the island nation later this year.

Malinga will be the ‘face’ of the World Twenty20 advertising campaign in the host nation and will promote the event globally, the ICC said.

09-06-2012    The Guardian
Sharapova crowned queen of clay:
Russia’s Maria Sharapova became the 10th woman in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles when she defeated Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2 in the French Open final yesterday.

10-06-2012    The Independent
Best runs riot in record knock:
West Indies pace bowler Tino Best smashed 95 to record the highest score by a number 11 batsman in the history of Test cricket on the fourth day of the third and final Test against England at Edgbaston.

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