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WORLD IN FOCUS |(Nov – Dec 2012)

WORLD IN FOCUS |(Nov - Dec 2012)

News From National & International Press

National

President signs drug authority bill: President Asif Ali Zardari signed a bill for setting up the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to prevent sale of fake, substandard and non-registered medicines and regulate manufacturing, storage, distribution, import, sale and advertising of therapeutic drugs.

Pakistan elected to UN rights council: Pakistan won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, by securing 171 votes. Pakistan has been elected to this important UN body for the third time.

Pakistan agrees to set free Taliban leaders: In an unprecedented gesture of support for Afghanistan’s struggling reconciliation process, Pakistan agreed to release several Taliban leaders detained in the country’s jails.

The development, which hasn’t been made public by either side, came on the second day of Afghan High Peace Council Chief Mr Salahuddin Rabbani’s three-day visit to Islamabad to re-start the peace process which has been in the limbo for over a year now.

NA adopts bill on free school education: The National Assembly adopted a bill which after the president’s assent will guarantee all children of five to sixteen years of age free quality education.

Contempt charge against PM withdrawn: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has reasons to be happy because the Supreme Court has let him off the hook and withdrawn a contempt charge against him in the NRO implementation case after the letter he was asked to write to Swiss authorities finally reached Switzerland.

Rumpus in Sindh PA as local govt bill becomes law: The Sindh Assembly witnessed unprecedented disturbances when Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro announced that the governor had given assent to the Sindh People’s Local Government Bill, 2012. The house turned into a veritable fish market with a ‘shouting match’.

Pakistani artist Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2013: Lahore-based Imran Qureshi has been named Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2013. The award honours promising artists who address social issues in an individual way and who have created an outstanding oeuvre, which concentrates on the two focal points of the Deutsche Bank Collection ‘works on paper and photography.

Judges of AJK Shariat Court take oath: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan administered the oath to advocates Mohammad Mushtaq Chaudhry and Sardar Mohammad Shahzad Khan as judges of the AJK Shariat Court.

Judiciary adopts its anthem ‘Justice for All’: The full court meeting headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry adopted Supreme Court’s 50th anniversary song ‘Justice for All’ authored by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani.

EC gets judicial officers for election duty: The Election Commission has finally succeeded in its attempts to get the assistance of judicial officers during the upcoming elections, with the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) agreeing to a one-time lifting of the bar on judiciary’s involvement in election process.

NA validates Gilani’s post-conviction actions: In nursing the wounds of a battle lost, the National Assembly overcame objections from the main opposition party to pass a government bill validating all official actions of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani taken over a period of 55 days after the Supreme Court convicted him in April for contempt of court.

MQM resolution adopted despite stiff opposition: In an apparent contest of one-upmanship, the National Assembly passed a resolution, in the face of strong opposition and differences within the ruling coalition, calling for a nationwide ‘deweaponisation’, which critics said was hardly doable in the present-day Pakistan.

President validates ratification of visa accord with India: President Asif Ali Zardari confirmed ratification of a visa agreement signed in September during a visit by the Indian external affairs minister to Pakistan.

D-8 declaration lays stress on energy security: Expressing commitment to creating a framework of cooperation for long-term energy security, the Developing Eight (D-8) countries agreed to broaden collaboration in research, development and production of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In a historic ‘Islamabad Declaration’, adopted at the conclusion of the D-8 Summit, leaders of the Muslim states stressed the importance of effectively harnessing sources of energy for economic growth and development and called for special emphasis on investment in the sector through public-private partnership.

Science policy launched: After a delay of three decades, the Ministry of Science and Technology launched its first national policy. ‘The new policy envisages a paradigm shift; in which innovation is recognised as an integral part of the S & T system.’ In 1975, preparation of the first national S & T policy was initiated. However, it took another decade for the final approval to develop the policy in 1984.

‘Malala ahead of Obama among world thinkers’: Malala Yousufzai is number six on US magazine Foreign Policy’s list of 100 top global thinkers in 2012. She is ahead of US President Barack Obama who is number seven.

N-capable ballistic missile launched: The military successfully tested nuclear-capable Hatf-V (Ghauri) ballistic missile at the conclusion of the rarely heard-about field training exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command.

Build Kalabagh Dam, LHC orders govt: The Lahore High Court came up with a surprise and ordered the federal government to implement decisions of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and build the much-politicised Kalabagh Dam.

Complete shutdown in Sindh against SPLG Act: A complete shutter-down strike was observed across Sindh on the call of the Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC) to register protest against the Sindh People’s Local Government Act.

Worldwide travel ban on Pakistanis recommended: The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has recommended the imposition of international travel restrictions on every child or adult travelling out of polio-endemic Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria so that they do not carry the risk of polio with them to imperil the hard-earned status of countries that are now free of the crippling virus.

NTS test compulsory to become a lawyer: With a view to bring about drastic changes in the legal profession, the Pakistan Bar Council has made the NTS test a mandatory for securing practising licences for new entrants to the profession.

Student from Balochistan wins Rhodes Scholarship: Rafiullah Kaka, a student from Qilla Abdullah, a backward area of Balochistan, has been selected for Rhodes Scholarship 2012. Former chairman senate Wasim Sajjad and former US president Bill Clinton were also winners of the scholarship.

President signs act for extending LG system to Pata: President Asif Ali Zardari signed an act, ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) LG Act, 2012’ allowing introduction of the local government system in Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (Pata), which comprises five districts Chitral, Malakand, Swat, Dir and Kohistan.

President okays Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill: President Asif Ali Zardari, on the advice of the Prime Minister, accorded his assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill.

Six accords signed with S. Korea: Pakistan and South Korea inked six agreements dealing with modernisation of Pakistan Railways, construction of an LNG terminal and cooperation in the banking.

Lal Masjid probe ordered: After more than five years, the Supreme Court appointed a one-man commission to probe the Lal Masjid military operation carried out by the government of Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan ranks second among terror-hit countries: Pakistan has been placed at second position out of 158 countries in the ‘Global Index on Terrorism 2012’. Iraq rose to the top ranking. Afghanistan was ranked third while India was placed at fourth position.

SC bars land transactions in Karachi: The Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry barred the Sindh government from mutation, allotment, transfer and conversion of any state land, and transaction or entry in the ‘record of rights’ until the entire revenue record is reconstructed.

Arsalan had ties with Riaz relative: A preliminary report presented by the Dr Shoaib Suddle Commission to the Supreme Court confirmed relations between Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and Ahmed Khalil, son-in-law of real estate magnate Malik Riaz.

Accord for Malakand tunnel project signed with South Korea: Pakistan and South Korea signed an agreement for the Malakand tunnel construction project and two memorandums of understanding in the water sector and for enhanced investment.

EU approves autonomous trade pact for Pakistan: European Parliament and the European Council approved special autonomous trade preferences (ATP) for Pakistan on Oct 25, which would enable export of certain goods from Pakistan to enter the EU duty-free subject to specific ceilings (Tariff Rate Quotas).

EC allows president to take part in by-poll campaigns: The Election Commission of Pakistan issued a notification allowing President Asif Ali Zardari and governors of four provinces to take part in election campaigns.

US to provide $200m for Diamer-Bhasha project: The United States agreed to provide $200 million for preliminary work on the Diamer-Bhasha dam project.

Kayani 28th among most powerful: magazine: America’s Forbes magazine ranked Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani 28th on its list of the world’s 71 most powerful people in 2012.

CII identifies over 100 articles from bilateral treaties as ‘un-Islamic’: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) seems all set to open a Pandora’s box as it is going to discuss and give recommendations on around 105 articles from hundreds of bilateral and multi-lateral treaties and conventions the country signed during the period from 1947-2009, after it identified them as ‘un-Islamic.

Iran to cooperate against human trafficking: Pakistan and Iran have agreed to cooperate against human trafficking and to exchange name of agents involved. It was decided in a meeting between National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Iranian Islamic Parliament Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Pakistan IT companies win four silver awards: Pakistan IT companies have bagged four silver awards at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards 2012 in Brunei Darussalam, held on December 5.

SC closes proceedings Commission on Arsalan-Riaz case dissolved: The Arsalan Iftikhar, Malik Riaz saga finally ended, at least in the Supreme Court, after it closed its proceedings and ordered the wrapping up of the commission that was appointed to investigate an alleged financial deal between the two.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain ordered making the report public with an observation that the issue was between the two individuals who could settle it at any forum.

President issues ordinance to amend Wafaqi Mohtasib Act 1983: President Asif Zardari issued an ordinance to further amend the Establishment of the Office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order 1983. Through the Ordinance, amendment has been made in Article 24 of the Act.

Salmam Farooqi appointed acting ombudsman: Salman Farooqui, secretary general to President Asif Ali Zardari, was appointed acting federal ombudsman.

Malala’s father named special UN adviser on education: The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown announced appointment of Malala Yousafzai’s father Ziauddin Yusufzai, as Special UN Adviser on global Education.

Malala fund for girls’ education launched: President Asif Ali Zardari announced a 10-million-dollar donation for a global war chest to educate all girls by 2015 set up in the name of Malala Yousufzai. The ‘Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education’ aims at raising billions of dollars to ensure that all girls go to school by 2015 in line with the United Nations Millennium goals.

Night navigation at PQA: Port Qasim has started night navigation facility for larger ships and is going to give berth to Maersk Kolkata having 304 LOA (length over all), the first largest vessel the port ever given berths. PQA is the first port of the country which will be offering this facility through out the year. The port is already offering 13-metre draft since last year.

NA declares Malala ‘Daughter of Pakistan’: The National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution asking the government to declare Malala Yousufzai as ‘Daughter of Pakistan’.

International

EU suspends Afghan aid over reform failure: The European Union announced that it is suspending 20 million euros in aid for Afghanistan, warning that case will be increasingly conditional on the government sticking to agreed reforms.

20 states join signature drive for secession from US: Some Americans upset with Presidential election results don’t quite agree, and now residents from 20 states have filed petitions with the White House to secede from the country. Louisiana became the first of the 50 states that managed to collect enough signatures to have their petition for secession added to the White House’s website last week, and so far they’ve had no problem finding company.

Cray named world’s fastest supercomputer: The Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, has been named the fastest supercomputer in the world.

US, Germany get UNHR Council seats in disputed election: The United States and Germany won a closely contested race among western nations for UN Human Rights Council seats, while the likes of Venezuela and Pakistan secured places without a competitive vote.

Terror suspect Abu Qatada released from UK jail: British authorities reluctantly released terror suspect AbuQatada on bail after judges ruled that the radical cleric dubbed Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe should not be extradited to Jordan.

‘Omnishambles’ declared Britain’s word of the year: ‘Omnishambles’ was named Britain’s word of the year after being coined by BBC TV’s satirical political series ‘The Thick of It’ to describe a badly mismanaged situation. The word has become a synonym for British government blunders.

New guard prepares to take control of China: China’s ruling Communist Party voted in a new Central Committee at the end of the week-long meeting, paving the way for the unveiling of a top leadership line-up.

Hamas commander killed in Israeli strike on Gaza: Israel killed a top Hamas military commander Ahmad Jaabari in a targeted strike in Gaza, prompting outrage from militants who said the Jewish state had opened ‘the gates of hell.’

India snooping on clients: India is snooping on users of Google search engine, a pattern that shows an increase of requests made for information about clients in recent months, Press Trust of India said.

Lonely planet: Orphan world spotted in deep space: A planet that had strayed from its star system and was wandering alone in deep space. Object CFBDSIR2149 is believed to be a cold, young world that for unknown reasons has pulled free of the gravitational pull of its mother star, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said.

New treason law takes effect in Russia: Russia introduced a new law broadening the definition of treason, alarming opponents who say Vladimir Putin will use it to silence his critics and that almost anyone in contact with foreigners will be at risk. The legislation allows Russians representing international organisations to be charged with treason, as well as those working for foreign states and bodies, and expands the range of actions that can be considered treasonous.

Yangon announces amnesty for prisoners: Myanmar pardoned hundreds of prisoners under a mass amnesty criticised by pro-democracy activists as a cynical ploy to curry favour ahead of a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama.

Xi anointed as new leader: Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as China’s leader, assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military in a once-a-decade political transition. Mr Xi was formally appointed as general secretary after a meeting of senior Communists that capped a week-long congress. He was also appointed chairman of the military commission.

Geneva jewel sales smash records: From a flawless diamond that fetched nearly $21.5 million to another gem that went under the hammer for $10.9 million, Geneva’s November jewellery auctions smashed several records this year.

Britain votes for first ever police commissioner: British voters headed to the polls to vote for the country’s first elected police and crime commissioners, who will set budgets and priorities and have the power to sack their chief constables.

Japan PM dissolves parliament: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way for elections in which his ruling party will likely give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to solve the nation’s myriad problems.

Hu gives up all powers, makes history: Chinese President Hu Jintao will go down in the history of communist China as the first leader to relinquish all levers of political power simultaneously. At the 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Hu broke with tradition when he decided to give up not only the posts of CCP general secretary and state president, but also the most important one as chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC chief is China’s de facto No. 1, whether or not he holds any other position.

Gaza fires rockets at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv: Gaza militants fired rockets at both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, aiming for the Jewish state’s political and commercial hearts, and prompting Israel to call up thousands more reservists in readiness for a potential ground war.

Meat bad for morals, says Indian textbook: The pros and cons of meat-eating may be the subject of debate for nutritionists, but one Indian school textbook is clear: a fleshy diet will make you lie, steal and even commit sex crimes. The unusual moral guidance appeared in a school book for 11-year-olds, purporting to offer education on issues from health and hygiene to sex education and exercise.

Australia creates world’s largest marine reserves: Australia created the world’s largest network of marine reserves, protecting a huge swathe of ocean environment despite claims it will devastate the fishing industry.

US House okays Russia trade bill with human rights slap: The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ‘name and shame’ Russian human rights violators as part of a broader bill to drop cold war-era trade restrictions, brushing off warnings from Moscow that the move would damage relations.

Asean leaders sign controversial pact: Southeast Asian leaders endorsed a controversial human rights pact at an annual summit in which they also sought to step up pressure on China over a bruising territorial dispute.

Obama pushes for change on historic Myanmar visit: President Barack Obama urged Myanmar to hasten its ‘remarkable’ reforms on a historic visit during which he was feted by huge crowds and met Aung San Suu Kyi at the home where she was long locked up. The trip, the first to Myanmar by a serving US president, came as the regime freed dozens more political prisoners.

Press freedom prize goes to four journalists: Journalists from Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia are to be honoured at the 2012 International Press Freedom Awards in New York for taking huge risks to expose human rights violations in their countries.

Suu Kyi becomes UN AIDS ambassador: Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has been appointed an ambassador of the UN’s programme on HIV and AIDS and has been tasked with fighting discrimination against people living with the disease.


France ends combat mission in Afghanistan:
France ended its combat mission in Afghanistan, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of a quickened departure from the war-torn country.

Marine general sworn-in at US Southern Command: Marine Corps General John Kelly assumed command of the US Southern Command, which is responsible Caribbean.

Congolese rebels seize Goma, take airport: A rebel group created just seven months ago seized the strategic provincial capital of Goma, home to more than1 million people in eastern Congo, and its international airport, officials and witnesses said, raising the spectre of a regional war.

Ajmal Kasab hanged secretly: Mumbai terror mascot Ajmal Kasab was hanged in a clandestine operation in Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail.

Gaza ceasefire comes into effect: A ceasefire came into effect in and around Gaza after a week of Israeli bombardment that killed at least 155 Palestinians.

Morsi assumes sweeping powers: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi assumed sweeping powers, prompting prominent opposition figure Mohamed El Baradei to accuse him of usurping authority and becoming a ‘new pharaoh’.

Brazil’s first black Supreme Court president: Brazil judge Joaquim Barbosa took the oath of office as Brazil’s first ever black head of the Supreme Court. He became the only black ever to serve on the court when he joined it in 2003.

‘Gangnam Style’ becomes YouTube’s most watched video: South Korean pop sensation Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ becomes YouTube’s most-watched video of all time, registering more than 803 million views to overtake ‘Baby’ by Canadian heartthrob Justin Bieber.

Itchy-footed Briton visits every nation without flying: A Briton celebrated claiming to be the first person to have visited every sovereign nation on the globe without flying, after he crossed into the world’s youngest country, South Sudan.

Arafat’s remains exhumed: The remains of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were exhumed, eight years after his death, with experts set to test for evidence he was poisoned by polonium.

Indian inventor wins cash to develop mobile phone for the blind: A 29-year-old Indian inventor, Sumit Dagar, won $50,000 to help him make a new low-cost mobile phone for the blind that uses a Braille display.

Dwarf planet beyond Pluto found to lack atmosphere: Not much is known about Makemake, a dwarf planet that circles the Sun beyond Pluto. But scientists got a closer glimpse of it last year, when it passed briefly in front of a star (an event called an occultation), and they report their findings in the journal Nature.
Previously, researchers believed that because the surface temperature of Makemake is heterogeneous, it might have an atmosphere.

Scientists make wheat genetic code breakthrough: Scientists from Britain, Germany and the United States have unlocked key components of the genetic code for wheat, helping to create varieties that are more productive and better able to cope with disease, drought and other crop stresses.

UN court acquits Kosovo’s ex-PM: A UN war crimes tribunal acquitted Kosovo’s former prime minister for the second time of murdering and torturing Serbs and their supporters in Kosovo’s war for independence, setting the stage for his return to political life in the deeply divided nation.

UN elevates status of Palestine: In a historic vote, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to admit Palestine as a non-member observer state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians and an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.

Ice deposits found on Mercury: Scientists announced new evidence that Mercury, the planet orbiting nearest the Sun, hosts massive caches of ice and revealed new information on how water reached our solar system’s inner planets.

Newly discovered fish named after Obama: A newly discovered species of colourful, freshwater fish has been named after US President Barack Obama due to his ‘global vision of environmental protection and conservation’. Five new species of freshwater fish called darters have been discovered in river drainages in eastern North America and named after four former US presidents and a vice-president.

Protests in Egypt after approval of draft constitution: Thousands of Egyptians protested against President Mohamed Morsi after an Islamist-led assembly hurriedly approved a new constitution in a bid to end a crisis over the leaders newly expanded powers.

Iran unveils unusually coloured blue submarine: Iran unveiled the main framework of a new domestically manufactured warship, named the Sina 7 that is painted in an unusually bright turquoise blue hue, during a ceremony held in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on the shores of the Persian Gulf.

Kuwait elects new parliament on record low turnout: Kuwaitis elected a new parliament that is expected to be more cooperative with the government than its predecessor after an opposition boycott of the poll and protests that divided the Gulf Arab state.

World’s largest floating Christmas tree lights up in Brazil: The holiday season kicked off in Rio de Janeiro with the lighting of the world’s largest floating Christmas tree, the gigantic 85-metre high metal structure, in the heart of the city.

Indian FM optimistic about Pakistan ties: Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that public opinion in India favours improved ties with Pakistan, but advocated caution to avoid any mistakes and prevent disappointments.

Sender of first text message ‘amazed’ 20 years on: The British software engineer who sent the world’s first text message 20 years ago said that he is amazed at how the technology has developed. The engineer, Neil Papworth, was chosen by chance to send the message ‘which read ‘Merry Christmas’ to a director at British telecommunications giant Vodafone on December 3, 1992.

Switzerland, US strike pact against tax evasion: Switzerland has signed a deal against tax evasion with the United States, effectively raising pressure on Swiss banks to hand over information about US nationals with assets.

US Senate fails to ratify UN treaty on disabilities: The US Senate failed to ratify the UN convention protecting the rights of the disabled, a symbolic treaty that creates no change in US law but encountered Republican resistance.

Army enters Goma after rebels’ pullout: Democratic Republic of Congo troops entered the eastern mining hub of Goma, two days after rebel M23 fighters withdrew in line with a regionally brokered deal. The rebels’ lightning capture of Goma on November 20′ eight months after they launched an uprising against Kinshasa’ had sparked fears of a wider war and major humanitarian crisis, and their withdrawal was widely welcomed.

Namibian PM sacked in cabinet reshuffle: Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba ditched his prime minister for a man tipped by some to be the country’s next ruler. Pohamba told journalists he has shifted Nahas Angula, who has been prime minster for nearly eight years, to the defence ministry, replacing him with Hage Geingob, who returns to the post after a 10-year absence.

Serbia, Kosovo strike fresh deals to ease tension in Balkans: Serbia and Kosovo struck key political deals in talks to ease Western Balkans’ tension, agreeing to jointly manage crossings on their flash-point border and send liaison officers to each other’s capitals.

Obama leads Forbes ranking of world’s most powerful: The US president leads it, of course, and then there’s the Pope, and Angela Merkel, and Facebook’s founder, and other global rainmakers on Forbes’ ranking of the mightiest earthlings. But the magazine’s 2012 list of the planet’s most powerful people also features folks who might raise an eyebrow or two: a Mexican drug baron, and the pudgy-faced young leader of North Korea, a hermit state assailed for pursuing a nuclear programme at the expense of feeding its very poor people. Last year’s No. 2 on the list, Chinese President Hu Jintao, is among the heavyweights off the list altogether this time. In Hu’s case it is because he’s on his way out of office.

EU takes Argentina to WTO: The EU took Argentina to the World Trade Organisation over what it said were import restrictions damaging to European business after Buenos Aires did the same over its bio-diesel exports.

C’wealth summit in Lanka next year: Despite a threat of boycott by Canada because of differences, the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Colombo from November 15 to 17 next year, it has been officially announced. CHOGM is held every two years.

Hamas chief in Gaza on first-ever visit: The exiled Hamas chief broke into tears as he arrived in the Gaza Strip for his first-ever visit, a landmark trip reflecting his group’s growing international acceptance and its defiance of Israel. Khaled Meshaal, who left the West Bank as a child and now leads the Islamic militant movement from Qatar, crossed the Egyptian border, kissed the ground, and was greeted by a crowd of Hamas officials and representatives of Hamas’ rival Fatah party.

Prank call UK nurse found dead: Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse who took a prank call at the London hospital that was treating Prince William’s pregnant wife Kate for morning sickness, has been found dead.

Lanka panel finds CJ ‘guilty on 3 counts: In the ex parte report submitted to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which impeached the Sri Lankan Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, has found her guilty of three of the 14 charges made against her in the motion submitted by 117 ruling coalition MPs a month ago.

Venezuela becomes Mercosur member: Venezuela became a full member of Mercosur at a summit of the South American regional trading bloc while Bolivia took a first step toward joining.

Canada approves foreign energy takeovers: Canada approved China’s biggest ever foreign takeover, a $15.1 billion bid by state-controlled CNOOC Ltd for energy company Nexen Inc., but drew a line in the sand against future buys by state-owned enterprises.

Morsi scraps decree of extra powers: Egyptian president scrapped a decree that gave him extra powers and ignited violent protests, but irate opponents said he had deepened the conflict by pressing on with a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists.

Hotline links three presidents: A hotline has been established to facilitate communication among the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, a Turkish official said.

Sports

Ishikawa makes golfing history: Ryo Ishikawa ended a two-year title drought with victory at the Taiheiyo Masters to become the youngest golfer to win 10 times on the Japanese Tour.

Klitschko sees off Wach to retain world title: World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his IBF, WBA and WBO titles with a unanimous points victory over Polish challenger Mariusz Wach.

Kenya’s Bett wins Athens classic marathon: Kenya’s Raymond Bett won the 30th Athens classic marathon in a new fastest time of of two hours, 11 minutes and 35 seconds.

Javeria youngest to clinch ranking event: Fifteen-year-old Javeria Mirza became the youngest scrabble player in Pakistan to win a ranking tournament.

Gayle sets unique Test record: Flamboyant West Indies opener Chris Gayle became the first player to hit a six from the first ball of a Test match when he launched his big-hit against Bangladesh.

Masterful Djokovic sinks Federer to win ATP Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic produced a masterful display to end Roger Federer’s reign as ATP Tour Finals champion as the world number one swept to a 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 victory in the final.

Spanish duo win doubles title at ATP Tour Finals: Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez became the first Spanish pair to win the doubles title at the ATP Tour Finals for 37 years with a narrow victory over Indian duo Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.

Nofil attains top spot in ATF ranking: Prodigy Nofil Kaleem scaled new heights by becoming first Pakistani ever to attain No 1 slot in the latest Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) under-14 rankings released recently.

Serbia seal soccer title as Int’l Sports Festival ends: The Punjab International Sports Festival 2012 concluded amidst simple but impressive ceremony and Serbia winning the football title beating Yemen 3-2 in a thrilling final under lights at the Punjab Stadium.

Tailender Abul rewrites record books with debut Test century: Bangladesh’s Abul Hasan became only the second man in 135 years of Test cricket to hit a debut hundred while batting at No 10, on the first day of the second and final Test against the West Indies. Australian Reggie Duff scored 104 against England at Melbourne in 1902 while batting at No 10.

Hanyu breaks world record at home GP: Hometown boy Yuzuru Hanyu broke his own short-programme world record to lead the figure skating Grand Prix in Japan at an arena that doubled as a mortuary after the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster.

Vettel makes history in Brazil: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel became Formula One’s youngest triple world champion at the age of 25 after a wet and chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix rollercoaster won by McLaren’s Jenson Button behind the safety car.

FIFA names Brazil’s World Cup mascot ‘Fuleco’: FIFA has named the mascot for the 2014 Brazil World Cup ‘Fuleco’ a word, which organisers say transmits a message of environmental awareness. Almost half of the more than 1.7 million people who voted in an online poll chose Fuleco ahead of ‘Zuzeco’ and ‘Amijubi’.

First ever hockey, football ground for women inaugurated: Women hockey and football players of the city welcomed the addition of a new ground, the First All Pakistan Women Hockey and Football Stadium, reserved specially for their sporting activities.

FIH introduces new system for World Cup qualification: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has introduced a new qualification system to decide the final line-up of the participating teams in the 2014 World Cup scheduled to be held in June in Hague, the Netherlands. Netherlands will qualify automatically as hosts for the World Cup in which, like the previous format, 12 teams will be taking part. Five champions of each continent, namely winners of Africa Cup of Nations 2013, fourth Pan American Cup, ninth Asian Cup, 14th EuroHockey Nations Championship and eighth Men’s Oceania Cup will also qualify for the world event.

Farhan clinches National Squash title: Asian champion Farhan Mehboob of Wapda clinched the trophy after defeating former British Open champion Mansoor Zaman of PIA in the final of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor National Gold Cup Squash tournament.

Asif wins world snooker title: Riding on the crest of a wave, Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif did the nation proud when he emulated the feat of veteran cueist Mohammad Yousuf by claiming the world snooker title in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. Pakistan’s ace cueist fought bravely to overcome Gary Wilson of England 10-8 in the best of 19 frames marathon.

Wapda employee wins race: Nisar Ahmed from Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), won the international cycle race from Rawalpindi to Murree, arranged by the Punjab government.

Anamul-inspired BD record biggest one-day win: Anamul Haque became the third youngest Bangladeshi to hit a hundred before the home team spun out the West Indies for their biggest One-day International victory by 160 runs.

Nadir Magsi storms to victory in Thar Desert Rally: Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Magsi roared to victory in the Thar Desert Rally with a scintillating drive through the scenic landscape in the race involving 27 vehicles in four different categories.

Cricket Kenya elects first chairwoman: Cricket Kenya unanimously elected Zehra Janmohammed as its new chairwoman, the first ever woman to head a national cricket board.

Marsaglia wins men’s WC super-G: Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia notched has first alpine World Cup victory, winning the Beaver Creek super-G ahead of Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal.

McDowell clinches World Challenge: Graeme McDowell continued his love affair with California by winning for the first time in two years when he held off playing partner Keegan Bradley to clinch the World Challenge by three shots.

Karachi crowned Sindh Games champions: Hasil sets record: Karachi emerged as champions of the 16th Sindh Games with a whopping 106 gold medals on a day Hyderabad’s high-jumper Mohammad Hasil set a new Games record.

Leasy new IBSF president: Ireland’s Jim Leasy, who also heads European Snooker Federation, became the new president of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) for the next term of two-year.

Japan’s Kameda defends WBA bantamweight title: Titleholder Koki Kameda of Japan beat interim champion Hugo Ruiz of Mexico by a split decision in a unification bout for the World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title.

Four Athens Games athletes stripped of medals: Four 2004 Athens Olympic medallists, including Ukraine’s shot put champion Yuriy Bilonog, have been stripped of their medals after retested samples stored for eight years proved positive, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

Unstoppable Cook makes history as England seize control: England captain Alastair Cook created history by cracking a record-breaking 23rd Test century and his third consecutive of the series as England took complete control of the third Test against India at the Eden Gardens.

Cricketer drinks phenyl, by mistake: The captain of Pakistan’s blind cricket team, Zeeshan Abbasi, needed hospital treatment after drinking acid that he mistook for mineral water at his hotel in India.

BD win ODI series 3-2: Bangladesh’s batsmen held it together, but only just. After failing to chase 211 last night, they overcame three difficult phases in their pursuit of a target of similar proportion, to win a series they had led 2-0 but almost let slip out of their grasp.

Asada wins ISU Grand Prix finals: Mao Asada of Japan won the women’s ISU Grand Prix finals title at Russia’s southern resort city of Sochi. The 22-year-old Olympic Games silver medallist took the medal ahead of US champion Ashley Wagner with another Japanese skater Akiko Suzuki lifting bronze.

Vonn seals World Cup super-G: Lindsey Vonn of the United States won the women’s World Cup super-G at saint Moritz ahead of Tina Maze of Slovenia and fellow American Julia Mancuso.

Hafeez inspires Lions to second National T20 title: Lahore Lions, inspired by a brilliant all-round performance from their adopted skipper Mohammad Hafeez, overwhelmed Faisalabad Wolves by a convincing margin of 33 runs to clinch their second Faysal Bank National Twenty20 Cup title at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Australia clinch record fifth Champions Trophy title: Australia clinched a record fifth straight Champions Trophy field hockey title with a 2-1 extra-time win over the Netherlands in the final in Melbourne. Pakistan won the bronze medal, fighting back from a goal down to beat India 3-2, Belgium took the fifth place with a 5-4 victory over Germany while New Zealand took seventh place in the eight-team tournament prevailing 3-2 against England.

Abbasi emerges as Player of the Tournament: Shakil Abbasi of Pakistan was declared as the Player of the Tournament of the 34th Champions Trophy that concluded here with Australia retaining the title for fifth consecutive times.

Senior becomes oldest winner in windy finale: Tour elder Peter Senior overcame galeforce winds to become the oldest Australian Open golf champion with a one-stroke victory at The Lakes.

Aussie McKenna wins WYSC: Michael McKenna of Australia was crowned the World Youth Scrabble Champion here at Birmingham after a day of fluctuating fortunes. Cheong Yi Wei of Malaysia was the runner up. Pakistan’s Javeria Mirza won the trophy for the highest single move score for her word SHUNTERS while Pakistan team finished third overall.

Record 4th rugby title for Kiwis: New Zealand triumphed over France with a thrilling 47-12 win to clinch the third leg of the IRB Sevens World Series for the fourth consecutive time in South Africa.

Messi smashes Mueller’s goal record: Lionel Messi surpassed Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year with a first-half double that helped his side to an important 2-1 win at Real Betis.

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