World in Focus (Dec-Jan 2016)

World in Focus

National

Dec 16: The ruling PPP got passed a resolution in the Sindh Assembly ratifying the stay of the paramilitary force in the province for one year.

Dec 16: President Mamnoon Hussain and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in Wuzhen on the sidelines of the Second World Internet Conference and discussed  bilateral relations.

Dec 18: Pakistan nullified an Indian move to seek a permanent solution to its agriculture subsidies at the multilateral level.

Dec 20: CM Sindh signed a summary to extend special powers of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, for another 60 days.

Dec 20: BISP launched a new programme ‘Beneficiaries Outreach and Communication Strategy,’ aimed at empowering women, in Gilgit.

Dec 21: The College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan won the Socrates Award 2015 as the best institution in the field of science, technology and medical education.

Dec 22: The World Bank approved an additional financing of $35 million to support improved management, planning and development of water resources in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan.

Dec 22: The Interior Ministry gave free hand to Karachi Rangers to continue their policing job under Anti Terrorism Act 1997.

Dec 23: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch resigned.

Dec 23: The PTI candidate Jehangir Khan Tareen won NA-154, Lodhran, seat.

Dec 24: The Nepra notified Interconnection for Renewable Generation Facilities Regulation, 2015.

Dec 26: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan and met Pakistani premier Mian Nawaz Sharif at his residence near Lahore. He is the fourth Indian Prime Minister to visit Pakistan in over 62 years since July 25, 1953, when Jawaharlal Nehru had landed at Karachi to hold talks with Ayub Khan the CMLA of Pakistan.

Dec 26: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry launched a political party namely ‘Pakistan Justice Democratic Critic Party (PJDCP)’.

Dec 26: Pakistan and Royal Bahrain Navies concluded bilateral exercise “Exercise Shaheen Al Jazeera”.

Dec 28: Two INGOs Qatar Charity and Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) were formally allowed to operate in Pakistan under the new procedure.

Dec 28: The COAS General Raheel Sharif was conferred upon the honourary fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) for his achievements.

Dec 29: Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH & RC) in Peshawar was inaugurated.

Dec 29: CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif launched the Punjab Khidmat Card Programme.

Dec 30: Pakistan and the World Food Programme (WFP) signed an MoU for a grant of $422.78 million.

Dec 30: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation stone of the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — Zhob-Mughal Kot (N-50) and Qila Saifullah-Wagum (N-70) highways.

Dec 31: The Senate adopted a landmark resolution to disapprove the controversial PIA ordinance, which seeks to convert the national flag carrier into a company.

Dec 31: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched “PM’s National Health Programme”. The programme has been launched in 15 districts and would be expanded to 23 in next phase.

Dec 31: Pakistani singer Adnan Sami was granted Indian citizenship with effect from 1 January, 2016.

Dec 31: The joint exercise of Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG) and Bahrain National Guard Special Operation Unit (SOU) concluded in Bahrain.

Jan 02: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) approved financing of $90 million to assist the polio eradication programme in Pakistan during 2016-18.

Jan 05: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif paid a state visit to Sri Lanka.

Jan 06: Pakistan approached the Bangladesh government to withdraw one of its senior diplomat, Moshumi Rahman, from its mission in Islamabad.

Jan 06: A PML-N candidate Pir Qutab Ali Shah clinched the bye-election of Provincial Assembly constituency PP-89.

Jan 07: Netflix, the world’s leading video-streaming network, announced the launch of its services in Pakistan and 129 other countries.

Jan 10: The Punjab government arranged a motorcycle rally for women  as part of their Women-on-Wheels (WoW) project.

Jan 10: The Supreme Court declared that the terms sagacious, righteous, honest and ameen within the contemplation of Clause (f) of Article 62 of the Constitution cannot attract for the qualification or disqualification of the elected members of local governments (LG) in Punjab.

Jan 12: New Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale reached to take charge of his office.

Jan 12: The deep sea phase of the Pakistan Navy and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-Navy) third bilateral exercise concluded at the Arabian Sea.

Jan 12: The Supreme Court was informed that a localised domain of YouTube had been launched.

Jan 13: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif granted six months of “temporary” extension to the registered Afghan refugees whose legal stay in Pakis tan expired in December 2015.

Jan 14: Pakistan and India mutually agreed to defer their foreign secretaries’ meeting.

Jan 14: Newly elected members, chairmen and vice chairmen of the local bodies in Sindh took oath.

Jan 14: Councillors, vice chairmen and chairmen of UCs across Punjab took oath.

Jan 14: An alliance of civil society organisations, academia, business and industry and other stakeholders formed ‘Pakistan Panel on Climate Change’.

Jan 15: Addressing the reservations of various political groups on the CPEC project, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted an 11-member steering committee to oversee the progress on the projects.

Business & Economy

Dec 16: The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) won the globally recognized “The Bank of the Year in Pakistan 2015” award.

Dec 18: The executive board of IMF completed the ninth review of Pakistan’s economic performance.

Dec 18: IMF executive board approved 10th tranche of around $500 million for Pakistan.

Dec 21: The federal government signed an agreement with Exim Bank of China for provision of funds of 162 billion rupees for the Orange Line Metro Train project.

Jan 04: The FBR withdrew the sales tax zero-rating facility available to certain textile sector units on the supply of electricity and gas for not meeting the criteria.

Jan 08: Meezan Bank was recognized as the global winner of ‘Best Islamic Retail Bank’ for 2015. In addition, Meezan Bank also won the ‘Best Islamic Bank in Pakistan’.

Jan 11: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar inaugurated the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). The PSX will operate from the Karachi Stock Exchange under the new setup.

Jan 14: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance approved the tax amnesty scheme for traders with a majority vote.

Elections, Transfers &  Appointments

Dec 20: CM Sindh appointed Nisar Ahmad Durrani as special public prosecutor on the cases against former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain. He replaced Mushtaq Jehangiri.

Dec 22: PTI’s Professor Mehar Taj Roghani was elected deputy speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, the first woman elected to the post.

Dec 22: The federal government appointed writer, poet and columnist Ataul Haq Qasmi the chairman of the PTV.

Dec 24: Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani was elected unopposed speaker of the Balochistan Assembly. She became the first woman speaker of the provincial assembly.

Dec 24: Barrister Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb took oath as the judge of the Islamabad High Court.

Dec 24: Nawab Sanaullah Zehri of PML-N was unanimously elected as the new chief minister of Balochistan.

Dec 27: The government of Balochistan appointed Anwarul Haq Kakar as its spokesman.

Dec 29: The AJK government appointed the AJK High Court Chief Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal as acting Chief Election Commissioner.

Dec 30: The Punjab government replaced Health Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik by Najam Ahmad Shah.

Jan 05: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui was elevated to the status of Adviser. He would head the newly-created division of National History and Literary Heritage.

Jan 08: Secretary Transport Punjab Shaukat Ali was transferred and posted as Secretary Finance Department.

Jan 12: Minister of State for CADD, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, was nominated as the chairman of the task force for eradication of polio from Islamabad.

Jan 12: A 12-member Balochistan cabinet comprising Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, Mustafa Tareen, Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai of PkMAP, Mohammad Khan Shahwani, Mohammad Aslam Bezenjo, Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch and Mir Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman Mohammad Hasni of the NP, Jangez Khan Marri, Sarfaraz Khan Domki and Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti of PML-N and Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel of the PML-Q, took oath. Five advisers to the chief minister were also appointed.

Jan 14: Begum Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif took oath as the Chief Guide of Pakistan Girl Guides Association (PGGA).

Energy

Dec 18: The ECC approved Pakistan’s $200 million equity participation in the TAPI Pipeline Company.

Dec 21: Pakistan and China signed an agreement on about $1.5 billion financing for a 3.8 million tonnes per year coal mining project and a 660-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Tharparkar, Sindh.

Jan 13: The government allowed PSO to sign LNG Sale Purchase Agreement  with Qatargas.

Education

Jan 11: The HEC appointed Prof Dr Arshad Ali as an executive director (ED) of HEC.

Jan 13: The Higher Education Commission recognised the degree awarding status of the Skardu campus of the Karakoram International University (KIU).

Sports

Dec 17: Chaman-based striker Kaleemullah signed contract with Oklahoma-based Tulsa Roughnecks FC.

Dec 23: COAS Gen Raheel Sharif inaugurated the first Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Youth Festival at the Qayyum Sports Complex in Peshawar.

Dec 23: Pair of Aqeel Khan and Ahmed Chaudhry won the men’s doubles title of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto National Ranking Tennis Championship.

Dec 23: Imran Khan joined Pakistan Super League (PSL) team Peshawar Zalmi as mentor.

Dec 27: Pakistan’s leg-spinner Yasir Shah was provisionally suspended for failing a dope test by the ICC.

Dec 28: Hafiz Rizwan Khawaja annexed ‘Mr Lahore’ and ‘Mr Lahore Division’ crowns in the bodybuilding contests while Kashan Malik bagged ‘Junior Mr Lahore’ and ‘Junior Mr Lahore Division’ titles.

Dec 31: Pakistan’s girls finished third in the Asian Junior Girls & Boys Throwball Championship in Kuala Lumpur.

Jan 01: Karachi won the All-Pakistan girls Gymnastics Championship while Lahore secured second position and Multan was third.

Jan 06: Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) retain Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship title.

People in News

Dr Ruth Pfau

Dec 21: The German consulate awarded Dr Ruth Pfau with the Staufer Medal in gold, its highest order of merit for service to the state, for his devotion to leprosy patients.

Zameer Choudrey

Dec 30: Renowned British Pakistani businessman Zameer Choudrey, Bestway Group Chief Executive, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Aleem Dar

Jan 02: Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar became first Pakistani and third member of ICC’s Elite Panel of Umpires to supervise 100 Tests.

Tabassum Adnan & Ms Sajida

Jan 07: Tabassum Adnan was elected the first speaker and Ms Sajida deputy speaker of the first women assembly of Swat.

The women assembly was formed under the Aurat Foundation’s voice and accountability programme, Awaz.

Sarmad Khoosat

Jan 07: Sarmad Khoosat’s Manto, the biopic of Saadat Hasan Manto, picked up award for Best Actor and Best Sound and Editing at the 8th Jaipur International Film Festival 2016.

Places in News

Karachi

Dec 17: The Intel Year End Conference 2015 was held at Karachi.

Islamabad

Dec 17: A seminar on “The Promises of CPEC,” organised by the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR), was held at Islamabad.

Karachi

Dec 21: ‘Sindh’s SDG Unit’, set up by the Planning and Development (P&D) Department in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was launched.

Zhob

Dec 30: The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was held in Zhob.

Baronees Sayeeda Warsi

Jan 14: Former cabinet minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi joined the University of Bolton as a Pro Vice Chancellor.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Jan 14: ‘A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness’; another documentary by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was nominated for the Oscars.

Obituaries

Dec 17: Popular playwright and actor Syed Kamal Ahmed Rizvi passed away at 85.

Dec 27: Justice Arshad Mahmood Tabassum of the Lahore High Court (LHC) died of heart attack.

Dec 29: Legendary broadcaster, intellectual and progressive ideologue Aslam Azhar died at 83. He was the first MD and executive of PTV and is widely hailed as the “Father of Pakistan Television”.

Dec 30: Prominent physician Professor Dr Tariq Nishtar, son of late freedom fighter Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar died.

Jan 01: Known physicist and former PU Faculty of Science dean Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem passed away.

Jan 04: Former Pakistan Cricket Board secretary and renowned statistician Ghulam Mustafa Khan died.

Jan 06: Mansur Ahmad, formerly Pakistan’s ambassador to Japan, passed away at 82.

Jan 14: Veteran international player and two-time ex-national table tennis champion Mazhar Qureshi died.

International

Dec 17: Afghanistan joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) becoming its 164th member.

Dec 17: Britain’s last coal mine in Yorkshire was closed down.

Dec 17: The leadership of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA resigned following allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics.

Dec 17: Delegates from Libya’s warring factions signed a UN-brokered agreement to form a national government.

Dec 18: Congress tightened the programme that allows millions of foreign nationals to travel visa-free to the United States.

Dec 18: The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2254 (2015) endorsing a peace process to end the nearly five-year war in Syria.

Dec 18: The US House of Representatives approved a $1.1 trillion spending package for 2016 which would avert a government shutdown.

Dec 18: Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to the late Mother Teresa, clearing the path for the nun to be elevated to sainthood.

Dec 19: The WTO agreed to abolish all agricultural export subsidies of developed countries immediately.

Dec 19: The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Switzerland in hopes of making progress on a peaceful resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Dec 19: Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named the winner of the Miss World 2015 competition.

Dec 20: Malaysia’s first Islamic-compliant airline Rayani Air began operations.

Dec 21: Gender equality has not yet been achieved in Asia, the Pacific and globally, and all women have yet to be empowered, United Nations’ Asia Pacific Report on Beijing+20 Review said.

Dec 21: China appointed Liu Yuejin as the commissioner of counter-terrorism; country’s first counter-terrorism chief.

Dec 22: The Philippines became the first Asian country to approve the sale of the world’s first-ever dengue vaccine.

Dec 24: Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved Japan’s biggest ever annual defence budget amounting to 5.05 trillion yen ($41.8bn) in defence spending for the next fiscal year starting in April.

Dec 24: India’s Reliance Defence signed a manufacturing and maintenance deal potentially worth $6 billion with Russia’s Almaz-Antey.

Dec 27: China adopted its first counter-terrorism law.

Dec 28: South Korea and Japan reached agreement on their dispute over wartime sex slaves.

Dec 28: Iraq flew its flag above the main government complex in the western city of Ramadi, marking its military’s first major victory over the IS group.

Dec 29: Saudi Arabia and Turkey agreed on the need to set up a “strategic cooperation council” to strengthen military, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Dec 30: India successfully test-fired a new long-range, surface-to-air missile capable of countering aerial threats at extended ranges.

Dec 30: Britain closed its oldest nuclear reactor, Wylfa 1, after nearly 45 years of operation.

Dec 31: The ten-member Asean officially launched Asean Economic Community (AEC); an EU-inspired economic bloc.

Jan 01: More than a million private cars were barred from New Delhi’s roads for 15 days, as authorities began testing drastic new measures to cut smog in the world’s most polluted capital.

Jan 01: Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad, after a 25-year shutdown.

Jan 02: India’s Pathankot Airbase was attacked.

Jan 02: The Vatican’s first accord with the Palestinians, an agreement that Israel has attacked as counter-productive to the Middle East peace process, came into force.

Jan 02: Saudi Arabia executed 47 including Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr and a convicted al-Qaeda leader Faris al-Zahrani.

Jan 03: Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Iran’s top leader predicted “divine vengeance” for Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shia cleric.

Jan 03: Saudi Arabia announced to sever relations with Iran.

Jan 04: Makarim Wibisono, a United Nations special investigator into alleged Israeli human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, resigned.

Jan 05: The UN-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that Syria’s declared chemical weapons arsenal has been completely destroyed.

Jan 05: Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Tehran in the face of growing international concerns.

Jan 05: The Internet giant, Yahoo!, announced that its four-year-old video portal, Yahoo Screen, was shut down.

Jan 06: North Korea claimed to have carried out a “successful” miniaturised hydrogen bomb test.

The world`s nuclear arsenals have typically comprised two types of warheads: atomic bombs (A-bombs) such as those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and much more powerful hydrogen, or thermonuclear bombs (H-bombs).

A third category of ‘enhanced radiation’ (ER) warheads, once dubbed ‘neutron bombs’, was developed using the thermonuclear principle, but they are not considered to be widely deployed at present. Atomic bombs work on the principle of nuclear fission, where energy is released by splitting atoms of enriched uranium or plutonium encased in the warhead. The hydrogen, or thermonuclear bomb, works on the principle of fusion of two nuclei, and generates temperatures similar to those found at the sun’s core.

When an H-bomb is detonated, chemical, nuclear and thermonuclear explosions succeed each other within milliseconds. The nuclear explosion triggers a huge increase in temperature that in turn provokes the nuclear fusion.

Jan 06: The German cabinet approved plans to send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, boosting its presence in the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African country.

Jan 09: Indian extremist party Shiv Sena attacked an ongoing Pak-India exhibition in the Indian city of Deradoon.

Jan 09: Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was re-captured.

Jan 09: Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups Arab monarchies, expressed their “total support” for Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic row with Iran.

Jan 10: The Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the United Nations recently tweeted its 2015 publication that got checked out the most, revealing that the book is about how diplomats can get away with crimes abroad.

Jan 11: Revenge drama “The Revenant” and space adventure “The Martian” took the top film awards at Golden Globes.

Jan 11: Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered a reorganization of the military headquarters’ structure in a sign of his firm control over the 2.3 million-member armed forces.

Jan 12: The Iranian military seized two US Navy boats and released them very next day.

Jan 13: Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels agreed a new truce deal that goes into immediate effect.

The latest ceasefire was negotiated between Moscow and Kiev envoys in the Belarusian capital Minsk with the help of a senior negotiator from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Jan 13: In his last State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama urged American lawmakers to authorise the use of military force against Daesh.

Jan 13: The House of Representatives passed legislation to restrict President Barack Obama’s ability to lift sanctions on Iran.

Jan 14: The United States declared the militant Islamic State group’s Afghanistan-Pakistan wing a foreign terrorist organisation.

Economy

Dec 21: The EU extended economic sanctions against Russia.

Jan 01: Russia’s finance ministry announced to sue Ukraine for defaulting on a $3 billion debt to Moscow.

Jan 08: The Asian Development Bank’s operations — comprising approvals of loans and grants, technical assistance, and co-financing — reached an all-time high of $27.15 billion in 2015.

Elections & Appointments

Dec 18: Bulgaria’s parliament appointed a new justice minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Dec 29: Burkina Faso’s constitutional court swore in Roch Marc Kabore as president.

Jan 06: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara named Kablan Duncan as prime minister.

Sports

Dec 20: Barcelona beat Argentina’s River Plate to capture a record third Club World Cup.

Dec 21: Andy Murray won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2015.

Dec 21: FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European football boss Michel Platini were both banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee.

Dec 28: Star football player Lionel Messi won the best player of the seventh edition of the Globe Soccer Awards, and FC Barcelona took home the best club prize.

Dec 29: Australia beat the West Indies to win the series and retain the Frank Worrell Trophy.

Jan 05: Australia withdrew from cricket’s junior World Cup in Bangladesh over safety fears.

Jan 05: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in the fifth ODI and sealed the  series.

Jan 12: Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world player of the year from his great rival Ronaldo.

People in News

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach

Dec 21: Philippines’ Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach — a high-profile actress and television host — was crowned Miss Universe 2015. Miss Colombia was wrongly named Miss Universe before the announcement of the actual winner.

Pranav Dhanawade

Jan 05: A Fifteen-year-old Mumbai schoolboy, Pranav Dhanawade, became the first batsman in any class of cricket to score 1,000 runs in a single innings when he scored 1,009 not out off 323 balls and obliterated a 117-year-old record for the highest number of runs scored in one innings.

Tim Peake

Jan 15: Tim Peake became the first astronaut representing Britain to carry out a spacewalk.

Places in News

Nairobi, Kenya

Dec 16-19: WTO ministerial conference was held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. The ministerial is the WTO’s highest decision-making body.

Wuzhen, China

Dec 16-18:  The 2-day Second World Internet Conference was held at Wuzhen, a historic scenic Chinese town located in northern Zhejiang Province.

Obituaries

Dec 24: Don Howe, a highly-respected former Arsenal player, manager and coach, died, aged 80.

Dec 26: Former Indian movie star Sadhana, who was a fashion icon for women across South Asia in the 1960s, passed away at 74.

Dec 27: Haskell Wexler, a two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer and prominent social activist, died at age 93.

Jan 01: Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, died at the age of 65.

Jan 02: A. B. Bardhan,a leader of the Communist Party of India died at 92.

Jan 02: Former US Representative Mike Oxley, a 12-term Republican congressman from Ohio, died at the age of 71.

Jan 07: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the chief minister of India-held Kashmir, died.

Jan 08: French fashion designer Andre Courreges, symbol of a style revolution in the 1960s, died.

Jan 09: Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Iran’s last shah, died at the age of 96.

Jan 11: British music legend David Bowie died at the age of 69.

Jan 14: Veteran British character actor Alan Rickman, known for his memorable portrayal of screen villains,  died at the age of 69.

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