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WORLD IN FOCUS September ‘Oct 2011

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Basic food prices rose by 74 pc in 3 years: The cost of basic food items increased by 74 per cent in three years (from June 2008 to 2011), leading to increased hunger and malnutrition, according to official findings.

Pakistan, Iran to expedite gas, power projects: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has agreed with Iranian President Mehmoud Ahmadinejad that the gas pipeline project and the import of 1000MW electricity from Iran should be expedited because Pakistan was facing an acute shortage of energy which was hampering its economic growth.

The two countries agreed to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion from the current $1.2 billion. Mr Gilani called for upgrading rail, road and air links to realise the immense potential of trade.

Power shortages cause 3-4% loss of GDP per annum: Pakistan’s economy sustains 3-4 percent loss of GDP per annum in the wake of crippling electricity shortages and subsidy that cause 10 percent increase in unemployment.

Pakistan’s Rs.11trn debt raises interest rate risks: Pakistan’s public debt at record Rs.11 trillion raises rollover and interest rate risks, while inflation rate is predicted to stay strong despite a slight recovery in national economy expected during the current financial year, according to the Asian Development Bank.

In its Asian Development Outlook 2011 update, the Manila-based multilateral agency reported a 29.2 per cent increase in domestic public debt to Rs.6 trillion (33 per cent of GDP) while external public debt rose to $56.3 billion (Rs.4.8 trillion) or 26.6 per cent of GDP.

Suicide strike on Lower Dir funeral leaves 26 dead: At least 26 people were killed and 65 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up during the funeral of an anti-Taliban tribesman in a Lower Dir village, not far from the Afghan border.

Kayani lays stress on national interest at Nato meeting: Stalemate between Pakistan and the United States over sanctuaries of the Haqqani network in tribal areas, which is threatening to stall normalisation of frayed bilateral relations, appears to be worsening.

Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani virtually ruled out an imminent full-scale action against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan.

Gen Kayani told a foreign news agency that he doubted Afghanistan would be ready for international troops to leave by 2014 as planned.

Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on blueprint for cooperation: Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on a blueprint for cooperating on reconciliation with the Taliban and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jaweed Ludin said only an Afghan-led and Pakistan-assisted process could succeed.

SC exceeding limits of suo motu rules: The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should exercise restraint in taking up suo motu proceedings because overuse of the provision could endanger the rule of law.

The visiting ICJ mission recommended to the apex court to adopt rules setting out the criteria for the use of suo motu procedures and for the allocation of cases to benches.

SC reply to ICJ: rules exist for suomotu cases: The Supreme Court said Article 184(3) of the Constitution mandated it to take up cases of violation of fundamental rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution a jurisdiction which it enjoyed along with the high courts.

In response to a statement issued by the International Commission of Jurists (TCJ), the Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain explained that the press conference by the member of the ICJ appeared to be based on some miscomp-rehension, perhaps ignorance, of the constitutional provisions and case law developed on the issue.

8 killed in suicide attack on SSP’s house in Karachi: Terror returned to Karachi after just a few days of calm when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the residence of a senior police official, resulting in the death of eight people, injuries to several others and damage to a large number of homes and cars in the vicinity.

26 shot dead in Mastung sectarian attack: Twenty-six pilgrims going to Iran were shot dead in cold blood in Mastung.

Seven sentenced to death for Sialkot lynching: A local antiterrorism court convicted night 22 people, nine policemen among them, in a case relating to the lynching of two brothers in Sialkot.

The court sentenced seven of the convicts to death on four counts, gave life term on four counts to six of them and jailed nine policemen, including a former district police officer, for three years.The court acquitted five co-accused on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The brothers, Hafiz Muneeb and Hafiz Mughees, were lynched by a violent mob on Aug 15 last year outside the office of Rescue-1122 in Buttar village, near Sialkot, in the presence of police.

Police registered an FIR the same day in which the two brothers had been accused of committing murder and robbery. A second FIR was registered after a video of the lynching was aired on different TV channels.The Supreme Court had also taken notice of the incident.

Cabinet okays talks with India on customs accord: The cabinet gave approval for starting negotiations with India for signing an agreement on customs cooperation to formalise efforts to facilitate trade.

Qawwali icon Maqbool Sabri passes away: Renowned qawwal Maqbool Sabri passed away in South Africa after a prolonged illness. He was 70.

Rift widens with new US allegations, blunt threat: Gloves are off as US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta threatened to take ‘operational steps’ against Pakistan while the American military chief Admiral Mike Mullen accused the ISI of having used its ‘veritable arm’ for attacking the US Embassy in Kabul.

Rangers asked to protect trade, industries: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has asked the Director General of Rangers to immediately discuss a security plan with all industrial associations in Karachi under which personnel of the paramilitary force could control the exit and entry points of the industrial areas in the city.

Pakistan, Italy call for negotiated solution of UNSC expansion issue: Italy and Pakistan declared that finding a comprehensive negotiated solution for the expansion of the UN Security Council, enjoying the widest possible support of the United Nations membership, was their primary objective.

Hague Court asks India to stop Kishanganga project: The Court of Arbitration in The Hague has accepted Pakistan’s application and has stopped India from constructing any permanent works on or above the Kishanganga/Neelum River bed at the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the flow of the river to its natural channel.

Over 25pc of $56bn foreign loan obtained by present govt: More than 25 per cent of the country’s $56 billion foreign loan has been obtained during three-and-a-half years of the present government. The $14.84 billion loan obtained by the PPP-led government between March 25, 2008, and Aug 31 this year includes about $4 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). China has been the largest loaning country for Pakistan.

37 million unverified voters deleted from electoral rolls: After deletion of 37 million unverified voters from the draft electoral rolls, 2011, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) added 36 million who had obtained CNICs after preparation of the electoral rolls-2007.

WB to provide $300m to Pakistan for education: The World Bank will provide $ 300 million to support higher education programs in Pakistan, officials said.

UN warns of food crisis in flood-hit areas: The United Nations warned of a food security and shelter crisis, saying it would soon run out of its stocks of food, essential medicines and tents if the international community failed to support the rapid response plan for flood victims in Sindh.

Attacks to get stern response: commanders: Amid escalating tensions in Pak-US ties, Pakistan’s top military commanders resolved to respond materially and effectively to any attack launched on Pakistan from the US-controlled and managed Afghanistan. They rubbished the recent US allegations accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence of having links with the Haqqani network.

Mushahid honoured with Cambodian Award: PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain was decorated with one of the highest awards of Cambodia at an investiture ceremony held at Phnom Penh. The award, Grand Order of the Kingdom of Cambodia, was awarded for ‘Mushahid Hussain’s services for promoting Asian causes and bringing Asian people closer together’.

HBL gets ‘Best Finance Provider’ award: At the annual World Bank and IMF Meetings D.C, Global Finance presented banking awards to the top global banks at a ceremony attended by senior bank officials of prominent global banks. HBL was presented with the award of the Best Trade Finance Provider Pakistan.

Heads of five oil and gas entities appointed: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has appointed heads of five major companies in the oil and gas sector.

Azeem Siddiqui, the acting managing director of the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), has been appointed MD.

The acting MD of Sui Northern Gas Company Limited (SNGPL) Arif Hameed has also been made MD.

Irfan Nasr has been appointed as MD of Government Holding Company, Asim Murtaza as MD of Pakistan Petroleum Limited and Tariq Pehlvi MD of Pak Arab Refinery.

The appointments had been finalised following interviews conducted on September 19 by a committee headed by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain.

New advertisements will be given for appointment of managing directors of Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL), Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Inter State Gas Company (ICGC).

Gates charity to give $65m for polio: Japan will finance the second round of polio eradication drive in Pakistan with an amount of $65 million through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, officials said.

Haqqanis have no bases in Pakistan, say Taliban: The Afghan Taliban attacked US allegations that Pakistan supported the Haqqani network as a plot to undermine the militant unity.

OPIC provides $20m loan for building project: A United States finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), announced to extend a $20 million loan towards completion of a 28-story office building in Karachi, a statement said.

India supports Pakistan’s EU waiver package: India has extended support for Pakistan’s EU waiver package in WTO and is issuing necessary instructions in this regard.

Pakistan to head UN group: Pakistan has been elected head of the Asian Highways Network Group of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

FBR surpasses quarterly target by Rs. 15bn: The provisional tax collection during July-September 2011/12 has surpassed the quarterly target by Rs.15 billion, thanks to the FBR blunder in the previous fiscal year when it included advance tax to show revenue collection higher at Rs.1,590 billion, official sources said.

Stress on peace with ‘our own people’: The all-party conference which brought under one roof politicians of diverse hues, some of them always at daggers drawn, resolved to lay stress on peace and negotiations, instead of military operation.

While the military leadership, including the ISI chief Lt General Shuja Pasha, reportedly rubbished the allegations levelled recently by some top US officials, a 13-point resolution adopted by the conference said Pakistan must initiate dialogue with a view to negotiating ‘peace with our own people in the tribal areas’ and should put in place a proper mechanism for this.

US tones down rhetoric: The United States appeared to have adopted a new approach for dealing with the alleged presence of terrorist outfits in Fata, taking legal action against militants without further escalating tensions with Pakistan.

ADB puts on hold loans till IMF’s assessment: The Asian Development Bank has “put on hold” its loans to Pakistan till the International Monetary Fund issues its assessment of the country’s economy.The future of programme loans depends on IMF’s letter of assessment on Pakistan.

Intelligence about ISI link not clear: US President Barack Obama said that Admiral Mike Mullen was expressing ‘frustration’ over alleged terrorist safe havens in Pakistan when the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the Haqqani network was an arm of the country’s intelligence service.

17 Pak officers get UN award: Seventeen Pakistani police officer, serving the United Nations Mission in Liberia were awarded UN medals for their contribution to peace in the African country at a special ceremony in Monrovia, according to a news release.

Balouch shines internationally: Upcoming pop singer Quratulain Balouch, popularly known as QB, recently won the ‘Pakistan’s Youngest Achievement Award UK and Europe 2011’ in Britain.

Ministry and UN Women sign MoU for women empowerment: The Finance Division of the government of Pakistan and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a 5-year partnership to enhance institutionalisation of GenderResponsive Budgeting in policies and plans at the Federal and provincial levels.

The MoU to support integration of Gender Responsive Budgeting within the curricula of public sector training institutes.

Qadri sentenced to death for killing Taseer: Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was sentenced to death on two counts for murder and terrorism by a court.

‘Plot to kill Rabbani hatched in Pakistan’: Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said it had handed Pakistan evidence that the Taliban leadership plotted the recent assassination of former president and government peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani on Pakistani soil.

Media told not to publish banned groups’ statements: Expressing dismay over the propagation of the views of organisations banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) directed the media not to publish the statements of such groups.

14 Hazaras killed in Quetta bus attack: In a fresh wave of target killings in Quetta, 14 people from the Hazara community were shot dead and six others were injured when unknown armed men attacked a passenger coach in the Akhtarabad area.

MQM back in govt: For the umpteenth time, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has rejoined the federal and provincial governments and decided to help the Pakistan People’s Party solve the many problems that ail the country.

Govt decides to review anti-terrorism laws: The government has decided to review all anti-terrorism laws with a view to making them punitive enough to tackle criminals involved in deadly crimes.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani presided over a meeting at the PM House and directed the interior and law ministries to propose comprehensive amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Bill, 2010, with a view to awarding deterrent punishment to those who are involved in heinous crimes like terrorism, an official handout said.

SC blames federal, Sindh govts for Karachi: The Supreme Court announced an overarching judgment on the law and order situation and target killings in Karachi and criticised both the federal and Sindh governments for their failure to ensure peaceful economic activity in the city.

It characterised the ‘unimaginable brutalities’ a result of a turf war aimed at keeping socio-political control over the city.

Helena Saeed becomes first woman DIG: Helena Saeed created history by becoming the first woman deputy inspector general (DIG) of the police in Pakistan.

Pakistan elected member of FEIAP: Pakistan has been elected as a member of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) during its 19th General Assembly meeting held in Singapore.

PM vows to speed up power projects: Responding to opposition doubts about whether his government can overcome festering power shortages, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured the National Assembly of fast implementation of projects and said the foundation-stone of Pakistan’s biggest hydro-electric power project, Diamer-Bhasha dam on the Indus, would be laid on Oct 18.

$17.6 million allocated by UN for flood victims: The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) of the United Nations has allocated $17.6 million (Rs. 1.54 billion) for providing water, food, shelter and healthcare to families devastated by floods in Pakistan.

New navy chief sworn in: New Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral M. Asif Sandila was sworn into his office, who made a vow to make the navy a ‘potent fighting force.

Interest rate slashed by 150bps to 12pc: The State Bank slashed the policy interest rate by 150 basis points to 12 per cent for two months, hoping to provide cheaper credit to private sector in the wake of falling inflation and reduced government borrowing during the first quarter of the current financial year.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UN honours Tagore, two other noted poets: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) launched a programme to honour three poets ‘Rabindranath Tagore, Pablo Neruda and Aime Cesaire. But a surprising omission is the great humanist’ Pakistan’s Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

46m below poverty line in US: The number of Americans living below the poverty line rose to a record 46.2 million last year as the US economy struggled to recover from recession, the country’s government said.

Al-Qaeda Pak chief of operations killed: Al-Qaeda’s chief of operations in Pakistan Abu Hafs al-Shahri has been killed, a senior US official said.

Sarkozy, Cameron visit Libya, offer help to new rulers: Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron landed in Libya to a heroes’ welcome, promising help for the new rulers that French and British air power helped to install and being told the favour may be repaid in business contracts.

Turkey warns Israel it can send warships to Mediterranean: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel that his country would not sit by and let the Jewish state do as it pleased in the Mediterranean and that Turkish warships could be there at any moment, escalating a war of words over the 2010 killing of Turkish activists.

Ties between the two regional powers have deteriorated sharply since Israeli naval commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship carrying aid to the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Libyan NTC gets UN seat: The UN General Assembly gave Libya’s UN seat to the National Transitional Council which toppled Muammer Gaddafi. A group of left-wing Latin American countries failed in a bid to oppose recognition of the transitional council. The 193-member assembly voted 114 to 17, with 15 abstentions, to let the former rebel leadership take the UN seat.

11 killed as 6.9 quake rocks India and Nepal: A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit northeast India, killing at least 11 people, including three caught in a wall collapse at the British Embassy in neighbouring Nepal.

Taliban suicide bomber kills Prof Rabbani: A Taliban suicide bomber killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and head of the government’s peace council, a dramatic show of militant reach and a heavy blow to hopes of reaching a political end to the war.

More than 30 million climate migrants in Asia: More than 30 million people were displaced last year by environmental and weather-related disasters across Asia, experts have warned, and the problem is only likely to grow worse as climate change exacerbates such problems.

Tens of millions more people are likely to be similarly displaced in the future by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, floods, droughts and reduced agricultural productivity. Such people are likely to migrate in regions across Asia, and governments must start to prepare for the problems this will create, the Asian Development Bank warned.

The costs will be high about $40bn is the likely price for adapting and putting in place protective measures, from sea walls to re-growing mangrove swamps that have been cut down, and that can help to protect against the impacts of storm surges.

New Libya flag flies at UN: Libya`s former rebel leaders basked in praise at the United Nations while fugitive strongman Muammar Qadhafi issued an audio message calling the new government a ‘charade’.

With the new Libyan flag flying at the UN headquarters, interim government leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil thanked all nations that aided the ‘success of the Libyan revolution’ which he said had left at least 25,000 people dead.

Libya’s new rulers claim victory in battle for Qadhafi’s stronghold: Libya`s new rulers declared victory in the battle for the key southern city of Sabha, one of the last bastions of deposed despot Muammar Qadhafi`s diehard supporters.

Officials of the interim ruling National Transitional Council said there were only small pockets of resistance in Sabha, Libya`s largest desert city and home to a strategically vital military base.

Scientists claim measuring faster-than-light particle: Scientists at the world’s largest physics laboratory claimed they had clocked sub-atomic particles travelling faster than light. If that’s true, it would break if not severely twist a fundamental pillar of physics.

Nothing is supposed to go faster than light. But scientists say that neutrinos ‘one of the strangest well-known particles in physics’ smashed past the cosmic speed barrier of 299,792 kilometres.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said the speeds were detected in a neutrino beam fired from Geneva to a lab 730 kilometres away in Italy.

Ahmadinejad holds West responsible for global crisis: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chastised the world powers for causing the current global crisis by perpetrating ‘slavery, colonialism’ which had triggered world wars and for using the ‘mysterious’ events of September 11 as a pretext to take over the Middle East and its oil resources.

In a speech in the UN General Assembly he repeatedly criticised the United States for killing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and throwing his body into the sea. He said he believed that Bin Laden had not been arrested and put on trial because the US had something to hide.

The US delegation to the General Assembly walked in protest against Ahmadinejad’s remarks. Diplomats from France and other European countries followed the US delegation.

‘Faster than light’ particles may be physics revolution: Leading scientists said the discovery of sub-atomic particles apparently travelling faster than light could force a major rethink of theories on the makeup of the cosmos if independently confirmed.

Jeff Forshaw, a professor of particle physics at Britain`s Manchester University, said the results if confirmed would mean it would be possible in theory to ‘send information into the past’. ‘In other words, time travel into the past would become possible…(though) that does not mean we`ll be building time-machines anytime soon.’

Palestinians apply for UN membership: Defying US and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations to accept their application for membership, hoping that the move would re-energise their quest for an independent homeland after two decades of fruitless negotiations.

Addressing the General Assembly after submitting the application to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to ‘come to peace’.

India deports US journalist for reporting on Kashmir: As the Indian government scurried to deal with a growing outrage about unmarked mass graves unearthed in Kashmir, it deported an American journalist who was known for his critical reporting of human rights violations in the Himalayan region.

India tests N-capable missile: India tested a medium-range nuclear-capable missile ‘Showrya’ along its eastern coast as part of the nation’s efforts to build up its atomic deterrent, an official said.

Saudi women get right to vote, contest poll: Saudi Arabia will allow women to stand for election and praise at the United Nations while fugitive strongman Muammar Qadhafi issued an audio message calling the new government a ‘charade’.

With the new Libyan flag flying at the UN headquarters, interim government leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil thanked all nations that aided the ‘success of the Libyan revolution’ which he said had left at least 25,000 people dead.

Libya’s new rulers claim victory in battle for Qadhafi’s stronghold: Libya`s new rulers declared victory in the battle for the key southern city of Sabha, one of the last bastions of deposed despot Muammar Qadhafi`s diehard supporters.

Officials of the interim ruling National Transitional Council said there were only small pockets of resistance in Sabha, Libya`s largest desert city and home to a strategically vital military base.

Scientists claim measuring faster-than-light particle: Scientists at the world’s largest physics laboratory claimed they had clocked sub-atomic particles travelling faster than light. If that’s true, it would break if not severely twist a fundamental pillar of physics.

Nothing is supposed to go faster than light. But scientists say that neutrinos  ‘one of the strangest well-known particles in physics’ smashed past the cosmic speed barrier of 299,792 kilometres.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said the speeds were detected in a neutrino beam fired from Geneva to a lab 730 kilometres away in Italy.

Ahmadinejad holds West responsible for global crisis: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chastised the world powers for causing the current global crisis by perpetrating ‘slavery, colonialism’ which had triggered world wars and for using the ‘mysterious’ events of September 11 as a pretext to take over the Middle East and its oil resources.

In a speech in the UN General Assembly he repeatedly criticised the United States for killing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and throwing his body into the sea. He said he believed that Bin Laden had not been arrested and put on trial because the US had something to hide.

The US delegation to the General Assembly walked in protest against Ahmadinejad’s remarks. Diplomats from France and other European countries followed the US delegation.

‘Faster than light’ particles may be physics revolution: Leading scientists said the discovery of sub-atomic particles apparently travelling faster than light could force a major rethink of theories on the makeup of the cosmos if independently confirmed.

Jeff Forshaw, a professor of particle physics at Britain`s Manchester University, said the results if confirmed would mean it would be possible in theory to ‘send information into the past’. ‘In other words, time travel into the past would become possible…(though) that does not mean we`ll be building time-machines anytime soon.’

Palestinians apply for UN membership: Defying US and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations to accept their application for membership, hoping that the move would re-energise their quest for an independent homeland after two decades of fruitless negotiations.

Addressing the General Assembly after submitting the application to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to ‘come to peace’.

India deports US journalist for reporting on Kashmir: As the Indian government scurried to deal with a growing outrage about unmarked mass graves unearthed in Kashmir, it deported an American journalist who was known for his critical reporting of human rights violations in the Himalayan region.

India tests N-capable missile: India tested a medium-range nuclear-capable missile ‘Showrya’ along its eastern coast as part of the nation’s efforts to build up its atomic deterrent, an official said.

Saudi women get right to vote, contest poll: Saudi Arabia will allow women to stand for election and native Nobel prizes.

Top al-Qaeda leader dies in US drone strike: US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al-Qaeda leader described by US officials as the ‘most significant risk’ to the United States, was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen.

Anti-piracy treaty signed: Japan, the United States and six other nations signed a treaty in Tokyo to fight counterfeit and pirated goods, saying their proliferation hurts economic growth and helps organised crime.

But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was not joined by China, where counterfeit products are widely produced and distributed.

Khamenei opposes Palestine statehood bid: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the Palestinians’ UN statehood bid, saying any deal that accepted the existence of Israel would leave a ‘cancerous tumour’ forever threatening the security of the Middle East.

Russia rejects draft resolution at UNSC: Russia has rejected the latest UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria which threatens imposition of sanctions against Syria government of Bashar al-Assad if it does not comply with the council’s demands.

The four European members of the UN Security Council ‘Britain, France, Germany and Portugal’ are hoping to put the draft resolution to a vote expecting Russia, a permanent member, would go along. They had full support of the United States.

Denmark levies world’s first fat tax: Denmark became the first country in the world to impose a fat tax after a week in which consumers hoarded butter, pizza, meat and milk to avoid the immediate effects. ‘We have had to stock up with tonnes of butter and margarine in order to be able to supply outlets’ Soeren Joergensen of Arla Distribution told AFP.

Large ozone hole over Arctic worries scientists: An ozone hole five times the size of California opened over the Arctic this spring, matching ozone loss over Antarctica for the first time on record, scientists said.

A year after polls, Bosnia still without govt: A year after last October’s general election, Bosnia is still without a central government, with the inability of political leaders to agree on a future cabinet hampering the bid for EU integration.

‘Instead of seeking a compromise, the six parties (taking part in the negotiations) are stuck in their hardline positions’ explained Srecko Latal of the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank.

First gas deposits found off Sri Lanka coast: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse announced that natural gas deposits had been found for the first time during exploratory drilling off the island’s coast.

Syria opposition forms united front against Assad: Syrian opposition movements announced the formation of a ‘historic’ united front against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime at a meeting in Turkey.

‘Invisible key’ invented by Taiwan scientists: A team of Taiwanese researchers have developed an “invisible key” technology which allows users to unlock their doors by means of simple hand gestures, the head of the team said.

Trio wins Nobel Medicine Prize for immune system research: Three scientists won the Nobel Medicine Prize for work on the immune system, but in a surprising twist the jury learned that one of the winners of the award that cannot be given posthumously had died just days before.

The winners were Bruce Beutler of the United States, Luxembourg-born Jules Hoffmann, who is a naturalised French citizen, and Ralph Steinman of Canada, who it was discovered, had died on September 30.

‘This year’s Nobel laureates have revolutionised our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation’ the jury said in a statement.

The three were lauded for their work on the body’s complex defence system in which signalling molecules unleash antibodies and killer cells to respond to invading microbes.

Europe parliament grants Palestinians ‘partner’ status: The European Parliament granted the Palestinian National Council ‘Partner for Democracy Status’ in only the second time such a status has been awarded.

Putin proposes idea of union among former Soviet nations: Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin has proposed setting up a ‘Eurasian Union’ of former Soviet nations, that would become a major global player. In an article published in the daily Izvestia, Mr. Putin said the proposed alliance of nations should emerge as ‘one of the poles of the modern world.’

Afghanistan, India sign security accord: India and Afghanistan signed a security pact in New Delhi after assessments by both that they were targets of the ubiquitous Haqqani group of the Taliban network increasingly accused of being a cat’s paw for Pakistan’s military.

Security Council gears up for contentious Syria vote: The United States voiced strong public backing for a UN Security Council resolution targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, after Russia slammed it as ‘unacceptable’.

India leads world in child labour products, says US report: India, Bangladesh and the Philippines lead the world in the number of products made by child workers, a US government stock-taking of the global scale of underaged labour revealed.

Universe is expanding fast, say three physics Nobel winners: Three US-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace, a stunning revelation that suggests the cosmos could be headed for a colder, bleaker future, nearly devoid of light.

In 1998, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess presented findings that overturned the conventional idea that the expansion was slowing down 13.7 billion years after the big bang.

India a great friend, Pakistan twin brother: Karzai: A day after signing a strategic partnership agreement with New Delhi, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought to assure Islamabad that it had nothing to fear from the pact.

No mediatory role for India in Afghanistan: US: India has no mediatory role in Afghanistan, said the US State Department as Defence Secretary Leon Panetta expressed the desire to build a ‘cooperative and trusting’ relationship with Pakistan.

Israeli wins chemistry Nobel: Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for a discovery that faced scepticism and mockery, even prompting his expulsion from his research team, before it won widespread acceptance as a fundamental breakthrough.

While doing research in the US in 1982, Shechtman discovered a new chemical structure ‘quasicrystals’ that researchers previously thought was impossible.

India launches ‘world’s cheapest’ tablet computer: India launched its long-awaited ‘computer for the masses’ unveiling a $46 tablet device designed to bring the information technology revolution to tens of millions of students.

DataWind, the Canada-based manufacturer, said the government was buying 100,000 of the tablets at Rs. 2,276 ($46) each to be given away for free to university and college students.

IMF officials warns of eurozone recession: The IMF warned Europe it risks recession next year, but told Greece it will likely get eight billion euros in promised loans that have been blocked for the last month.

IMF Europe director Antonio Borges said a new overall approach was needed as he warned that a recession in 2012 ‘can’t be ruled out.’

Russia, China veto move against Syria in UNSC: Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would have condemned Syria’s crackdown on prodemocracy protesters.

The proposed resolution included a call for an immediate end to army action by the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.

Spain to host ships for Nato missile shield: Spain agreed to bolster Nato’s planned missile defence system by hosting four US naval ships equipped with interceptors designed to knock out incoming missiles.

Kazakhstan lacks gas for EU link: Kazakhstan does not currently have the energy resources to join the proposed Trans-Caspian natural gas pipeline, the Central Asian state’s oil and gas minister Sawat Mynbayer said.

Palestinians find backing at Unesco: Despite strong opposition from the United States, Germany and several other European states, the Palestinian have gained initial approval of a bid for full membership in Unesco ‘the UN. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’ as part of their broader campaign for recognition as a state by the UN Security Council.

Switzerland, UK sign tax deal: Switzerland and Britain signed an agreement to tax money kept by British residents in secret Swiss bank accounts, a move which could net the British government billions of pounds and help Swiss banking clean up its image.

Apple ‘genius’ Steve Jobs dead: Apple founder and visionary Steve Jobs died from cancer aged just 56, a premature end for a man who revolutionised modern culture and changed forever the world’s relationship to technology through inventions such as the iPad and  iPhone.

Poet’s surrealistic work garners Nobel: The 2011 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet whose surrealistic works about the mysteries of the human mind won him acclaim as one of the most important Scandinavian writers since World War II.

Three women win Peace Nobel: Africa’s first democratically elected woman president, a Liberian campaigner against rape and a woman who stood up to Yemen’s autocratic regime won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the importance of women’s rights in the spread of global peace.

The 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award was split three ways between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, women`s rights activist Leymah Gbowee from the same African country and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen the first Arab woman to win the prize.

Titanium treasure found on Moon: A new map of the Moon has revealed an abundance of titanium ore that is up to 10 times richer than on Earth, a finding that could one day lead to a lunar mining colony, astronomers said. The discovery was made thanks to a camera aboard the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which swept the surface of the Moon, scrutinising it in seven different light wavelengths.

Honduras and EI Salvador top world in homicide rates: Honduras and EI Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world as killings reach a crisis point in Central America, according to a report by the United Nations.

Georgia-Russia talks on WTO fail: Swiss-mediated talks between bitter rivals Georgia and Russia over Moscow’s bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ended without agreement, and Georgia said it would block Russian accession unless Moscow`s position changes.

Poland’s centrists win new term: Poland’s governing centrists won a landmark second term in general election, exit polls showed, seeing off a challenge from the conservative opposition.

Two Americans share economics Nobel: Americans Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims shared the Nobel Prize in economics for work that helps governments and central banks weigh up responses to crises though it offers no immediate answer to current global problems.

Judge quits Cambodia panel: A German judge Siegfried Blunk responsible for the indictments of Khmer Rouge suspects in a joint Cambodian-UN tribunal has resigned, citing political interference by the Cambodian government, the tribunal announced.

2 Americans awarded Nobel for economics: The American Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims were awarded the Nobel economics prize for research that sheds light on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and policy instruments like interest rates and government spending.

Dr Sargent and Dr Sims, both 68, carried out their research independently in the 1970s and 1980s, but it is highly relevant today, as world governments and central banks seek ways to steer their economies away from another recession.

SPORTS

Aleem named Umpire of the Year again: Aleem Dar of Pakistan won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year for the third year running.

Aamir, Mazhar Majeed confess to involvement in spot-fixing case: Banned fast bowler Mohammad Aamir and England-based players’ agent Mazhar Majeed have reportedly admitted to their involvement in the spot-fixing incident in last year’s Lord’s Test before a court in England.

However, the two other accused ‘then captain Salman Butt and medium-fast bowler Mohammad Asif’ have stuck to their earlier stand that they are innocent and never signed any fixing deal with Majeed.

Clarke century ensures draw in final Test as Australia claim series: Australia clinched the Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 after resurgent skipper Michael Clarke led from the front to snatch a draw for the tourists in the finely poised third and final game.

FIFA bans Guyana FA president in bribery scandal: Guyana FA president Colin Klass became the second high-ranking official, and the fourth in all, to be banned for their part in a bribery scandal when world football’s ruling body FIFA suspended him for 26 months.

Long stuns Lee to win Japan Open: On-song Chen Long claimed his second title in two weeks when he shocked world number one Lee Chong Wei to win the men’s singles title at the Japan Open.

China bag Asian Basketball title: Forward Yi Jianlian knocked down a free throw with 28 seconds left to give China a 70-69 victory over Jordan to win the Asian championship and secure a berth to the 2012 London Olympics.

Pakistan finish 7th in Asian Volleyball: Pakistan finished a poor seventh in the 16th Asian Volleyball Championship while hosts Iran stunned China to win the title and a direct entry into the World Cup.

Matsuyama wins Asian Amateur Golf: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan played his final 42 holes without a bogey and closed with a 5-under 67 to win the Asian Amateur Championship for the second straight year, earning another invitation to Augusta National to play in the Masters.

Aisam-Oliver bag Thai doubles title: Pakistan’s tennis Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and his partner Oliver Marach of Austria clinched the Thailand Open men’s double title by trouncing German duo Michael Coleman and Alexander Waske.

Japan’s Nishiolo retains WBC belt: Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka successfully defended his WBC super bantamweight title, unanimously outpointing Rafael Marquez at the MGM Grand hotel and casino.

Stallions win National Twenty20 Championship: Sialkot Stallions defeated Rawalpindi Rams by 10 runs in a thrilling final to win the National Twenty20 Championship at National Stadium Karachi.

World record broken in archery at Lord’s: South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun broke his own world record as archery came to Lord’s, the home of cricket, for a test event ahead of next year’s London Olympics.

Ashes hero Graham Dilley is no more: Former Ashes hero Graham Dilley has died aged 52 after a short illness, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed.

Berdycn, Radwanska claim Beijing titles: Czech Tomas Berdych fought back from a set down to overcome Croatia’s Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the final of the China Open, winning his first title in more than two years.

Vettel becomes youngest champion to win back-to-back world titles: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel roared into the record books as Formula One’s youngest double world champion after finishing third in the Japanese Grand Prix won by McLaren rival Jenson Button.

Aqeel retains Federal Cup: Aqeel Khan maintained his undisputed ascendancy for 10 years running as he retained the Federal Cup title, overwhelming his younger brother Jalil Khan in straight sets at the PTF Complex.

Harbhajan inspires Mumbai Indians to Champions League crown: Skipper Harbhajan Singh bagged three wickets to help Mumbai Indians lift the Twenty20 Champions League title with a 31-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final.

OBITUARIES

National
Ghayur-ul-Islam, a veteran journalist and former incharge of the business pages of Dawn, died. He was 87.

International
Indian singer, musician and composer Jagjit Singh, who won generations of fans by reviving the traditional genre of ‘ghazal’ tunes, died in Mumbai at the age of 70, hospital officials said.

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