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World in Focus (December-16 to January-17)

World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17)

 NATIONAL

Dec 16: The Council of Common Interests agreed to begin Pakistan’s sixth population census from March 15, 2017.

About the CCI

  1. Under the Constitution of 1973, the President appoints the Council on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  2. The Council is responsible to both the Houses of Parliament i.e. the Senate of Pakistan & National Assembly.
  3. It’s mandatory for the CCI to meet at least once in 90 days.

Composition

As per Article 153 (2), the Council consists of:

(a) the Prime Minister (Chairman);
(b) CMs of 4 Provinces;
(c) 3 Federal Ministers to be nominated by the PM.

Dec 16: Pakistan made history when its Permanent Representative to Geneva, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua became the first woman, and the first developing country representative, to preside over the Conference of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fifth Review Conference.

About CCW

  1. Adopted on 10th October 1980, the Convention codifies two fundamental customary principles of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflict: the prohibition on the use of weapons which have indiscriminate effects and the prohibition on weapons which are “of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.”
  2. The implementation of the Convention is reviewed every 5 years in a comprehensive manner by the Review Conference.
  3. Currently, there are 100 States Parties to the treaty, with six additional signatories—Afghanistan, Egypt, Iceland, Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam—that are yet to ratify the Convention.

Dec 17: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formally inaugurated the Greater Iqbal Park in Lahore.

Dec 17: Ali Cheema, a renowned economist, was appointed as Punjab’s non-official member to the National Finance Commission (NFC), replacing Nawid Ehsan.

Dec 19: Renowned Pashto folk singer Mashuq Sultana died.

About Mashuq Sultana

  1. Ms Sultana was born in Shahderai village in Swat in 1952.
  2. She launched her singing career from Radio Pakistan Peshawar in 1968.
  3. She was recipient of many awards and certificates including President’s award Pride of Performance.
  4. She earned titles of ‘melody queen’ and ‘rock star of the stage’ during 60s and early 70s.

Dec 19: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif transferred the administrative control of five key regulatory bodies to the respective ministries. These regulatory bodies are:

Dec 20: The National Accountability Bureau accepted the plea bargain of Mushtaq Ahmed Raisani, former finance secretary of Balochistan, facing corruption allegations, for Rs2bn.

What is plea bargain?

Article 25 (b) of the National Accountability Ordinance (XVIII of 1999) reads: “Where at any time after the authorization of investigation, before or after the commencement of the trial or during the pendency of an appeal, the accused offers to return to the NAB the assets or gains acquired or made by him in the course, or as a consequence, of any offence under this Ordinance, the Chairman, NAB, may, in his discretion, after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, accept the offer on such terms and conditions as he may consider necessary, and if the accused agrees to return to the NAB the amount determined by the Chairman, NAB, the Chairman, NAB, shall refer the case for the approval of the Court, or as the case may be, the Appellate Court and for the release of the accused.”

Dec 21: Justice Yahya Afridi was appointed the Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court after the elevation of Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, to the Supreme Court.

About Justice Afridi

  1. Born on Jan 23, 1965, Justice Afridi hails from Kohat Frontier Region.
  2. He did his LLB from Punjab University, in 1988, and LLM from Cambridge University, in 1990.
  3. He was enrolled as an advocate of the high court in 1991 and that of the Supreme Court in 2004.
  4. He was elevated to the high court as additional judge on Mar 15, 2010, and subsequently was confirmed as permanent HC judge on Mar 15, 2012.
  5. He is the youngest Chief Justice of the PHC.
  6. He is the first Chief Justice of the PHC from Fata.

Dec 21: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved new assignments for about a dozen grade 22 and 21 officers.World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17) 2

Dec 22: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) sold 40 percent of its strategic shares to a Chinese consortium that made the highest bid of Rs28 per share for 320 million shares on offer. Transaction is valued at Rs8.96 billion ($85 million).

Dec 23: Veteran journalist and columnist Syed Anwar Qidwai breathed his last. He was 72.

About Syed Anwar Qidwai

  1. Born in UP’s Barabanki city, Qidwai was the son of Syed Amiruddin Qidwai, a comrade of the Quaid-i-Azam.
  2. Amiruddin Qidwai designed the national flag of Pakistan.
  3. Anwar Qidwai started journalism in 1964 as a reporter.
  4. He won the first APNS Award on reporting in 1984 and also wrote a book on Mian Nawaz Sharif, entitled Quaid Ka Sipahi.

Dec 24: Noted Punjabi writer and columnist Rifat died at 86. Dec 25: Major General Asif Ghafoor took over charge of director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Dec 25: The Punjab government issued the Punjab Civil Administration Ordinance 2016.

Highlights

  1. The positions of District Coordination Officers (DCOs) have been put to halt in Punjab and deputy commissioners (DCs) for all districts have been appointed throughout the province.
  2. DCs will be able to hold court sessions in criminal cases as justice of the peace.
  3. The performance of the assistant commissioners within the district will also be accounted by the respective DCs.
  4. The monitoring of all development projects in a district will be ensured by the DC of that district.
  5. He will take active measures for the deliverance of best service for all residents.
  6. Other duties will include consultation with police heads to safeguard peace and be responsible for the lives and properties of citizens.
  7. Furthermore, instead of additional commissioners, additional deputy commissioners will be appointed.
  8. DCs will be able to call the leader of local council at any time for inquiry.
  9. To improve the deliverance of service in local government system, DCs will monitor the performance of mayors.
  10. Government properties will be regulated by the DC.
  11. A DC will have the duty to determine the statistics of his respective district.

Dec 26: The government appointed chairman and members on the Audit Oversight Board (AOB) to oversee auditors of public-interest companies and ensure audit oversight.

The Appointees

Chairman: Dr Tariq Hassan (He is the first chairman of AOB.  He is an attorney practicing law and has served as SECP chairman and adviser to the finance minister.)
Members: Ahmad Saeed, Muhammad Naeem, Faresa Jafarey, Shahid Ghaffar, Tariq Iqbal Khan and Asif Usman

About AOB

  1. The AOB was established under the amendments made to the SECP Act, 1997, to regulate the audit profession in the country.
  2. Its functions include the registration and de-registration of audit firms that intend to audit accounts of public-interest companies and carry out oversight and review of the quality assurance board of ICAP.
  3. The AOB will also ensure that the auditing standards adopted by ICAP conform to the international standards issued by International Auditing and Assurance Board.
  4. The AOB is also authorised to deregister an audit firm based on its work and inspections.

Dec 26: Renowned folk singer Suraiya Multanikar was conferred with the Pride of Punjab Award by the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture.

Dec 28: Prime Minister inaugurated power production from Chashma Nuclear Project – III.

About Chashma Nuclear Project – III

  1. The 340 megawatt Nuclear Power Plant, in Mianwali, is a joint collaboration of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
  2. This is the third project after the successful operation of Chashma-I and Chashma-II projects.
  3. All nuclear power projects, including Chashma-III, have been approved by Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority for Nuclear Safeguards as per IAEA agreements thereby maintaining highest safety standards.
  4. Chashma–IV Nuclear Power Project to be completed in 2017 and Karachi Nuclear Power Projects K-2 and K-3 will add 8800 MW electricity to the national grid by 2030.

Dec 28: The Lahore High Court nullified the auction of ‘Direct To Home’ (DTH) licence carried out by Pemra.

Dec 28: Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasar took charge as Vice-Chancellor of University of the Punjab.

Dec 28: A Pakistani-American Dr Rashid Chotani won the “Scientific Achievement Award 2016” of the Nato Science and Technology Organisation for his extraordinary performance in research on medical countermeasures against biological agents.

Dec 30: China blocked India’s request to add the head of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad to UN Security Council’s blacklist of groups linked to Al-Qaeda.

Dec 31: President Mamnoon Hussain conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) on the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Dec 31: Imtiaz Ahmed, a member of the country’s first Test team, passed away in Lahore.

Jan 02: HBL clinched the title of the National One-Day Departmental Cup, defeating SSGC in the final.

Jan 02: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights approved the ‘Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016’.

Jan 02: Pakistan’s most prominent international cricket umpire, Aleem Dar, became the umpire with most supervised international matches under his belt when he supervised his 332nd international match in the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka.

About Aleem Dar

  1. Aleem Dar was born in Jhang. He stood in his first ODI aged 32, in 2000.
  2. He was appointed to the ICC panel in 2002.
  3. He made his Test debut in October 2003, immediately winning plaudits for making sound decisions in tough matches in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  4. In April 2004, Aleem became the first Pakistani at the ICC Elite Umpire Panel.
  5. Aleem, has been named the ICC Umpire of the Year award for three consecutive years (2009-2011).
  6. He has earned a reputation as one of the best, and with Simon Taufel he represents the pick of the younger officials.
  7. On Aug 14, 2010, the Government of Pakistan honoured Aleem with the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

Jan 03: Lt-Gen Muhammad Naeem Ashraf was appointed chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila.

Jan 04: A distinguished classical singer and one of the most celebrated vocalists belonging to the Patiala Gharana of classical music, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, died aged 82.

Ustad Fateh Ali Khan: 10 Facts

  1. Ustad Fateh Ali was born in Patiala, India, in 1934.
  2. He, along with his brother Ustad Amanat Ali, appeared, in 1945, for the first time on the big stage in Lahore at a concert sponsored by an influential music connoisseur, Pandit Jeevanlal Matoo.
  3. Their performance at the All Bengal Music Conference in 1949, catapulted the duo to fame.
  4. The brothers were trained by their father Akhtar Husain, who was a vocalist in the patronage of the princely state of Patiala.
  5. Their grandfather Ali Bakhsh Jarnail too served in the same court and was the founder of the Patiala Gharana.
  6. They received a host of awards and accolades, including the Pride of Performance Award in 1969.
  7. In 1992, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan collaborated with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek. They released a CD titled `Ragas and Sagas`. It was very well received.
  8. Fateh Ali Khan had many students all over the world. One of his favourite students was Deeyah of Norway. She later became an Emmy award-winning film-maker.
  9. A thumri sung by the two brothers, `Kab aao gey`, is considered to be an all-time classic. Amanat Ali Khan composed it.
  10. His younger brother Ustad Hamid Ali Khan is also a renowned classical and ghazal singer.

Jan 05: Younis Khan claimed his 34th Test century and first in Australia, becoming the first batsman to score Test hundreds in 11 countries.

Jan 06: All parliamentary parties consented to the proposed merger of Fata with KP province.

Jan 07: Acclaimed architect Habib Fida Ali passed away.

About Habib Fida Ali

  1. Born in 1935, in Karachi, Habib Fida Ali was one of Pakistan’s most prominent architects.
  2. He attended the St. Patrick’s School before joining Aitchison College Lahore in 1952.
  3. He was the first Pakistani student to be admitted to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, from where he graduated in 1962.
  4. He returned to Pakistan in 1963 to join William Perry’s architectural practice in Karachi, and established his own practice in 1965.
  5. He is also a recipient of the lifetime achievement award by the Institute of Architects Pakistan.

His Famous Projects:

Head offices of: (1) National Bank of Pakistan; (2) Sui Southern Gas Company; (3) Faysal Bank; (4) Shell; and (5) Restoration of the Mohatta Palace, Karachi; and (6) LUMS campus (Lahore)

Jan 07: Through the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance 2017, the government amended the provisions of NAB Ordinance, 1999 that govern plea bargains and voluntary returns, disqualifying those who have availed these options from holding public office for life.

Jan 07: The Punjab government appointed MPA retired Lt-Col Sardar Muhammad Ayub Gahdi as provincial minister for counter-terrorism with immediate effect.

Jan 07: Australia defeated Pakistan in the third Test to claim an emphatic 3-0 series sweep. It was Pakistan’s 12th straight defeat since their last Test win in Australia 22 years ago.

Jan 09: Pakistan attained the credible ‘second strike capability’ as it successfully test-fired nuclear capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) Babur-III.

Salient Features

  1. Babur-III is a sea-based variant of ground-launched cruise missile Babur-II having a range of 450 km.
  2. It has underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems.
  3. The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defenses, in addition to certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.
  4. The missile, in land-attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence.
  5. With the successful attainment of a second strike capability, Pakistan has achieved a major scientific milestone.

What is Second Strike Capability?

Second-strike capability is the idea that in the case of a nuclear attack by one state on another state, the state attacked would be able to survive an initial strike, and have the ability to counter with a strike of its own attack on that initial attacking state. Sea-based second strike capability is widely considered as a defensive, stability-inducing capability rather than an offensive one, and that is exactly how it needs to be marketed to the world.

Jan 11: Governor Sindh Justice (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui died at 78. He was the shortest-serving governor of Sindh and none before him had died in office.

Jan 12: A PPP leader and former speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Abdul Akbar Khan passed away.

Jan 12: Pakistan was placed at 7th position among the world’s top 10 countries vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change and global warming. In 2015, Pakistan was at 8th position.

Jan 12: Journalist, poet and script writer Rukhsana Noor passed away. She was 58.
Rukhsana wrote film songs and scripts for famous films like Choorian and Majajan, which were directed by Syed Noor. Two collections of her poetry, Ilham and Aa Pyar Dil Mein Jaga (film songs), have been published.

Jan 13: Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi became the first Pakistani ever to receive the Medal of Arts Award by the US State Department for 2017.

Jan 14: China handed over two ships equipped with state-of-the-art guns, named after two nearby rivers Hingol and Basol, to the Pakistan Navy for joint security along the sea route of the CPEC and to undertake search and rescue operations in all maritime zones of Pakistan.

Jan 14: Maj-Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat Khan was appointed as director general of Punjab Rangers.

Jan 15: Maulana Saleemullah Khan, a prominent religious scholar, a teacher of Mufti Rafi Usmani and Mufti Taqi Usmani and the founder of Jamia Farooqia, passed away.
Jan 15: Noted religious scholar and author of over 100 books, Allama Naseer Hunzai, passed away aged 100.

World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17) 3


INTERNATIONAL

Dec 16: The UN cultural body UNESCO accorded world heritage status to Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvellous City).

About UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  1. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are sites having special cultural or physical significance.
  2. The list is maintained by International World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  3. The committee comprises 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  4. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

Dec 17: Indian government announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new chief of army staff, Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa as the new chief of the Indian Air Force, Anil Dhasmana as the new chief of India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Rajiv Jain as the head of Intelligence Bureau.

Dec 18: India won the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup after a gap of 15 long years.

Dec 18: China launched its first fully-owned overseas satellite ground station near the North Pole enabling it to collect satellite data anywhere on the Earth at fastest speed.

Dec 18: Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico was crowned Miss World 2016. First runner-up was Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramirez of the Dominican Republic, followed by Miss World Indonesia Natasha Mannuela.5World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17) 4

Dec 18: Britain’s tennis ace Andy Murray won a record third BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Dec 19: Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead in Ankara by an off-duty police officer.

Dec 19: The world’s first cloned goat bearing superfine Cashmere wool was born in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Dec 20: President Obama announced a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along wide areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic Seaboard under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Dec 20: France opened the world’s first solar road in Normandy, part of a government-sponsored experiment to see if turning France’s highways into power stations could be a sustainable way to generate energy.

The one-kilometre “Wattway” is covered with 2,800 square metres (30,000 square feet) of resin-coated solar panels and was hooked up to the local power grid. It should generate enough electricity to power local street lighting.

Dec 21: Researchers from United States developed the first vaccine for Chikungunya fever made from an insect-specific Eilat virus.

About Chikungunya

  1. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that causes the disease.
  2. It is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
  3. Its symptoms include: abrupt fever and severe joint pain, often in hands and feet, and may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
  4. There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for chikungunya.
  5. There is no commercial chikungunya vaccine.
  6. Chikungunya treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids.

Dec 21: ICC awards for the year 2016 were announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Full List of winners

Cricketer of the Year (Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy): Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
Test Cricketer of the Year:  Ravichandran Ashwin (India).
ODI Cricketer of the Year:  Quinton de Kock (South Africa).
Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year:  Suzie Bates (New Zealand).
Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year: Suzie Bates (New Zealand).
T20I Performance of the Year:  Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies).
Emerging Cricketer of the Year:  Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh).
Associate/Affiliate Cricketer of the Year:  Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan).
Spirit of Cricket Award:  Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan).

Dec 22: Japan approved 5.13 trillion yen ($43.6 billion) in defence spending for the fiscal year starting in April 2017—Japan’s highest annual defence budget so far.

World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17) 1Dec 24: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a 17th-century Hindu ruler.

About the Statue

  1. It is set to be the world’s tallest statue and will be more than twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and five times higher than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. The structure will rise 192 metres (630 feet) from an island off the western coast of Mumbai in the Arabian Sea.
  3. When finished, it will tower over the 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China’s Henan province that is currently the world tallest statue.
  4. The government of Maharashtra state is expected to spend some 36 billion rupees ($530 million) on the statue, which is scheduled for completion by 2019.
  5. Shivaji, who is revered by many in Maharashtra, is a symbol of Hindu cultural revival promoted by Modi.

Dec 25: A Russian military plane heading to Syria crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 92 on board.

Dec 26: India conducted a successful fourth test launch of its nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, Agni-V having a range of over 5,000-km.

Dec 26: Scientists from Canada developed the first functional pacemaker cells using human pluripotent stem cells.

Dec 26: A team of researchers identified Hafnium Carbide (HfC) and Tantalum Carbide (TaC) as the world’s most heat-resistant material. They can withstand record melting point temperatures up to 3958°C (approx 4000°C).

Key Facts

  1. Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC) are refractory ceramics.
  2. Researchers found TaC melted at 3,768 degrees Celsius, and HfC melted at 3,958 degrees Celsius.
  3. Besides, the mixed compound (Ta0.8Hf0.20C) exceeded its previous recorded melting point.
  4. These materials at present are mainly used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
  5. This discovery may pave the way for improved heat-resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles. It means that future spacecraft could become faster than ever.

Dec 26: French sailor Thomas Coville smashed the world record for a single-handed, non-stop sailing circumnavigation of the globe.

Coville, 48, crossed a finish line off Brittany on Dec 25 after a voyage of 49 days three hours seven minutes and 38 seconds in his 31-metre trimaran, slashing more than eight days off the previous record.

Dec 27: Indian government banned some 20,000 charities from accepting overseas funds because they ‘failed to comply with the rules’.

Dec 27: Carrie Fisher, the actress known around the world for playing Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movies, died at 60.

Dec 27: Former Bundesbank president Hans Tietmeyer, a key architect of the euro who oversaw its introduction in Germany, died at the age of 85.

Dec 27: China successfully tested the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet J-31 (now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon).

Dec 27: Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal’s Euro 2016-winning coach Fernando Santos scooped the top prizes at the seventh edition of the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai.

Full list of all winners

  1. Best Player of the year: Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. Best Club of the year: Real Madrid
  3. Best President of the year: Florentino Perez
  4. Best Coach of the year: Fernando Santos
  5. Best Referee of the year: Mark Clattenburg
  6. Best Agent of the year: Mino Raiola
  7. Special Award: Unai Emery
  8. Best Sports Media Agency of the year: MP& Silva
  9. Best Arab Player of the year: Mohamed Salah
  10. Kooora Best GCC Player of the year: Omar Abdulrahman
  11. Best Chinese Player of the year: Zheng ZHI
  12. Kooora Best GCC Club of the year: Al Hilal
  13. Player Career Award: Samuel Eto’o

Dec 27: US President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies on the charges of their involvement in hacking US political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

Dec 28: Gregorio Goyo Alvarez, the last military dictator of Uruguay, died at the age of 91.

World in Focus (Dec-16 to Jan-17) 4Dec 29: The Gulf sultanate of Oman, which maintains good ties with rival powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia, became the 41st nation to join the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance.

Dec 29: China opened to traffic Beipanjiang bridge, reportedly the world’s highest, in southwestern China.

Key Facts

  1. The Bridge soars 565 metres (1,854 feet) above a river and connects the two mountainous provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou.
  2. It spans 1.34-km between Xuanwei city in Yunnan province and Shuicheng county in Guizhou.
  3. It cost 1.023 billion yuan (about $140 million) to build.
  4. The four-lane bridge took three years to build
  5. Several of the world’s highest bridges are in China, although the world’s tallest bridge — measured in terms of the height of its own structure, rather than the distance to the ground — remains France’s Millau viaduct at 343 metres.

Dec 30: Romania’s president named social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu as the nation’s new prime minister.

Dec 30: Former cycling great Ferdinand Kubler, who in 1950 became the first Swiss national to win the Tour de France, died at 97.

Dec 30: Colombia’s Congress passed a law granting amnesty to Marxist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels as part of historic peace deal reached between rebels and the Government.

Dec 30: Legendary animation artist Tyrus Wong, whose evocative sketches were used to create Disney’s groundbreaking “Bambi” cartoon, died at the age of 106.

Dec 31: The UN Security Council approved a resolution supporting a Russian-Turkish peace initiative for Syria.

Dec 31: New Zealand crushed Bangladesh to win the ODI series against Bangladesh.

Jan 01: India’s Supreme Court ruled that election candidates cannot use religion or caste to seek votes, describing them as corrupt practices under electoral laws.

Jan 01: Finland became the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a social experiment hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.

Jan 01: John Berger, the British art critic, intellectual and prodigious author whose pioneering 1972 book and the BBC series it spawned, “Ways of Seeing,” redefined the way a generation saw art, died. He was 90.

Jan 02: India successfully test-fired its home-grown, long range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-IV.

About Agni-IV

  1. Agni-IV is two-stage surface-to-surface nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missile.
  2. It is 20-metre long and weighs 17 tonnes.
  3. It is equipped with state-of-the-art Avionics, 5th generation on-board computer and distributed architecture.
  4. It can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 4,000 kilometres.
  5. It was the sixth test of the missile and the previous test was conducted on November 09, 2015

Jan 03: Prof David R. Syiemlieh was appointed the Chairman of India’s Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Jan 04: Justice Jagdish Khehar was sworn in as the 44th Chief justice of India. He is the first Sikh to hold the apex position.

Jan 06: Israel suspended about $6 million in funding to the United Nations to protest a Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlements in the West Bank.

Jan 06: Veteran actor Om Puri, known for a variety of roles in many Bollywood and Hollywood films, died.

About Om Puri

  1. He was born on October 18, 1950 in Ambala, Haryana.
  2. He had studied acting in India’s two of the most prestigious acting schools of the country-National School of Drama (NSD) and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
  3. He made his debut in films in a Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal in 1972.
  4. He is remembered for his strong performances in films like Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).
  5. His last appearance was in a Pakistani comedy film, Actor in Law.
  6. He also had lent his voice for the character of Bagheera in The Jungle Book.
  7. He had won two time National Award for his roles in Arohan and Ardh Sathya. He was honoured with Padmashri, the fourth highest civilian award of India in 1990.

Jan 06: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared the year 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Key Facts

  1. The International Year aims to support a change in business practices, policies and consumer behaviour toward a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute effectively to achieve targets of the SDGs.
  2. It will promote the role of tourism sector in five key areas: (i) Inclusive and sustainable economic growth (ii) Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction (iii) Cultural values, diversity and heritage (iv) Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change (v) Mutual understanding, peace and security.
  3. Tourism is under three targets of the SDGs: They are (i) Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (ii) Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production and (iii) Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  4. The tourism sector accounts for 7% of worldwide exports, 10% of the world’s GDP and one in eleven jobs.
  5. If managed well, it can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and protection of natural and cultural assets.

Jan 07: Portugal’s former president Mario Soares, widely seen as the father of the country’s modern-day democracy, died.

Jan 07: Turkey ordered the dismissal of almost 8,400 civil servants and the closure of over 80 associations, including sports clubs, in the latest round of purges.

Jan 08: Aamir Khan’s latest blockbuster Dangal became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time.

Jan 10: Roman Herzog, who as president pressed Germany to embrace economic reform in the 1990s and also stressed the importance of remembering the Nazi Holocaust, died at 82.

Jan 10: Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world’s best player for the year 2016 at the inaugural Best FIFA Football Awards held in Zurich, Switzerland.

Other 2016 Awardees

Best FIFA Women’s Player: Carli Lloydll (US)
Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Claudio Ranieri (Italy)
Best FIFA Women’s Coach: Silvia Neid (Germany)
FIFA Puskas Award: Mohd Faiz Subri (Malaysia)
FIFA Fair Play Award: Atletico Nacional
FIFA Award for an Outstanding Career: Falcao (Brazil)
FIFA Fan Award: Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters.

Jan 11: A study titled ‘The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control,’ released by the World Health Organisation and the United States National Cancer Institute, reported that tobacco-use burdens countries with over $1 trillion a year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Jan 11: Five UAE officials were among 57 people killed in a string of bombings across Afghan cities.

Jan 12: Independent Afghan TV news station Tolo picked up the 2016 Agence France Presse Kate Webb prize.

Jan 12: South African batsman Hashim Amla became the eighth player to score a century in 100th Test.

Previous Players to achieve the feat

Colin Cowdrey, Javed Miandad, Gordon Greenidge, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ricky Ponting (both innings) and Graeme Smith.

Jan 14: Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, called cinemas and singing concerts harmful and corrupting.

Jan 14: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas opened a Palestinian embassy to the Vatican.

Jan 14: Zhou Youguang, a linguist considered the father of modern China’s Pinyin Romanisation system, died at the age of 111.

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