World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)

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July 16: The government formally launched a $205 million National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to improve preparedness of institutions and strengthen infrastructure to mitigate risks arising out of natural disasters and minimize loss to public life and property.

July 16: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) approved the grant of power generation license to Lahore Xingzhong Renewable Energy Company Limited.

July 16: Iran’s Chief of General Staff Maj Gen Mohammad Bagheri paid an official visit to Pakistan.

July 17: Engr Dr Tahir Masood took the charge of Managing Director/President of NESPAK.

July 17: Pakistan submitted its second counter-memorial to India’s arguments on the conviction of Kulbhushan Jadhav before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

July 17: Pakistan ranked 68th out of 86 countries on the Inclusive Internet Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The country has ranked lower than India, Iran, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh.

July 17: Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) appointed senior bureaucrat Syed Abu Akif its new secretary.

July 18: The Barsuwat Nullah in the Ishkoman valley of Ghizer district, Gilgit-Baltistan, swelled due to a glacier melt, creating an artificial lake similar to Attabad Hunza Lake, and blocking the flow of the Immit River.

Did You Know?

1. The Barsuwat area lies at a distance of 60km from Gahkuch, the headquarters of Ghizer district.
2. The Ishkoman valley is situated near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.
3. The Immit River joins the River Indus in the Gilgit area.

July 19: Zainab Bibi, who was declared the tallest woman by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003, died at 46.

July 20: As part of Pakistan and China’s plan to increase maritime security of Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China commissioned the first 1500-tonne Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)July 20: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) allowed banks to charge Rs50 per transaction for the payment of taxes/duties through 1-Link online transaction collection (OTC) facility.

July 20: Pakistan’s opener Fakhar Zaman became the first Pakistani batsman to enter the 200 club in ODI cricket when he scored an unbeaten 210 runs against Zimbabwe.

July 21: Hanif Abbasi, a leader of the PML-N, was arrested and sent to Adiala Jail after he was convicted by the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Court of Rawalpindi and handed down life term in the case related to misuse of controlled chemical ephedrine.

July 22: Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman became the fastest player to score 1000 runs in One-Day International (ODI) cricket during the 5th match against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo.

July 22: Afghanistan and Pakistan held inaugural meetings of 5 Working Groups (WGs) under the Afghanistan & Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), in Kabul.

The First Woman Chief Justice of the BHC

On July 23, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar nominated Justice Tahira Safdar as the first ever woman chief justice of the Balochistan High Court.

Read More: World in Focus (April – May 2018)

10 Facts about Justice Tahira Safdar

1. Born on October 5, 1957 in Quetta, Justice Tahira Safdar is the daughter of renowned lawyer Syed Imtiaz Hussain Baqri Hanafi.
2. She received her basic education from the Cantonment Public School, Quetta, and went on to complete her bachelor’s degree from the Government Girls College, Quetta.
3. She got her master’s degree in Urdu literature from the University of Balochistan, as well as a degree in law from the University Law College, Quetta, in 1980.
4. In 1982, she made history by becoming the first woman civil judge in Balochistan.
5. After attaining success in a competitive examination held by the Balochistan Public Service Commission, she was appointed a senior civil judge on June 29, 1987.
6. She was made additional district and sessions judge on Feb 27, 1991.
7. On March 1, 1996, she was promoted to district and sessions judge.
8. She was appointed a member of the Balochistan Services Tribunal on Oct 22, 1998, and worked in that capacity till she was appointed chairperson of the Balochistan Services Tribunal on July 10, 2009.
9. While working as chairperson, Justice Tahira Safdar was elevated to the position of additional judge of the high court on Sept 7, 2009, and confirmed as a BHC judge on May 11, 2011.
10. She is currently a member of the three-judge special court conducting the trial of former president Pervez Musharraf for committing treason by proclaiming a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

July 24: Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) signed an MoU to strengthen cooperation to curb money laundering and terror financing.

July 25: General Elections 2018 were held in Pakistan wherein Pakistanis chose their representatives for the next five years in the National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the largest party in the centre.

July 26: The 1,320MW coal-fired Hubco Power Plant was connected with the national grid after the National Transmission and Dispatch Company completed a new 500kV transmission line.

July 28: Mahnoor Shahzad, Pakistan’s national champion, won the Annapurna Corporate Invitational International Badminton Tournament which was held in Kathmandu.

July 28: Three young Pakistani girls – 13-year-old Amina Hanif,14-year-old Maryam Bashir and 15-year-old Siddiqa Batool – made a world record by climbing the 6,080-metre Manglesser peak in the Shimshal valley in the Karakoram mountain range.

July 28: Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair stepped down.

July 28: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) activated its three-year $4.5-billion oil financing facility for Pakistan.

July 28: China announced to provide $1.5 to $1.7 billion in shape of official bilateral loan on soft terms and conditions to Pakistan.

July 29: Pakistan’s Mohammad Huzaifa Ibrahim clinched the U-13 title at the Japan Junior Open International Squash Championship, beating Yujin Ikeda of Japan in the final.

July 31: The Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) legal wing proposed amending existing family law to penalise husbands who ended conjugal relationships through ‘triple talaq’.

Aug 01: Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, was elected as the president of the Pakistan Squash Federation.

Aug 02: PML-N leader Muhammad Tallal Chaudhry was convicted of committing contempt of court and awarded imprisonment ’till the rising of the court’. With the conviction, Mr Chaudhry was also disqualified for five years under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)Aug 03: Minister for Maritime Affairs and Foreign Affairs Abdullah Hussain Haroon said that Exxon Mobil was close to hitting huge oil reserves of 5,000 metres near the Pak-Iran border, which could be even bigger than the Kuwaiti reserves.

Aug 03: One dozen schools, including an Army Public School, in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district were torched by attackers believed to be opposed to girls’ education.

Aug 03: The US Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 which significantly reduces security assistance to Pakistan, that is, from almost $750 million per year to $150 million.

Aug 05: Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai inaugurated the Centre of Excellence of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS).

Aug 07: Ambassador Riffat Masood presented her credentials to Iran’s Foreign Minister, becoming Pakistan’s first woman envoy to Iran.

Aug 07: Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement that allowed for training of Pakistani troops at Russian military training institutes.

Aug 08: The Supreme Court (SC) took matter of re-opening of Nandipur Power Plant corruption case and issued notices to the respondents.

Aug 09: The inaugural Asma Jahangir Scholarship was awarded to a student Sana Gul by the British High Commissioner.

This annual scholarship, which was launched earlier this year, honours the legacy of the late human rights champion Asma Jahangir. Each year the scholarship will be awarded to the top-ranking, female applicant in the competitive recruitment process.

About the Scholarship

The Chevening scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year Masters programme at United Kingdom’s any university. The scholarship programme provides a unique opportunity to future leaders, influencers and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, to build networks, to experience UK culture, and to form lasting relationships in the UK.

This year, 64 Chevening scholars and fellows will go to study in diverse fields including law, communications, public service, technology, development and public policy. Chevening alumni consist of over 1,650 alumni which includes senior journalists, civil servants, professionals, politicians and members of society from all walks of life.

Aug 09: The commissioning ceremony of 600-ton maritime patrol vessel, PMSS ZHOB, built for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) in Karachi.

Aug 10: The ECP annulled the election for PK-23 (Shangla) where women had apparently been barred from voting. PTI’s Shaukat Ali had emerged victorious in that constituency by securing 17,399 votes.

Aug 10: A platoon of cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), led by Pakistan Army’s Major Umar Farooq, was declared the best platoon of the course this year for displaying outstanding skills, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth praising the Pakistani officer for “outstanding achievement”.

Aug 10: Keeping in view the miseries and backwardness of Balochistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced 50 scholarships for the poor and underprivileged students from Balochistan in undergraduate and graduate programmes at renowned Saudi universities.

Aug 12: Pakistan Navy won the 2nd Parvez Abbasi Open Shooting Championship 2018.

Aug 13: Following in the footsteps of his elder brother and mentor Mohammad Sajjad, unseeded Mohammad Ijaz won the 10th National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) ranking snooker championship, his maiden ranking title

Aug 13: The inaugural session of Pakistan’s 15th National Assembly was held in parliament building Islamabad.

Aug 13: After taking oath as an MPA in Sindh Assembly, Tanzeela Qambrani became Pakistan’s first-ever Sindh Sheedi woman to be part of the provincial legislature.

Aug 14: After successful tests in the orbit, Pakistan’s first Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) and Pakistan’s indigenous Technology Evaluation Satellite (PakTES-1A) became fully operational. And, the control of PRSS-1 Satellite was successfully transferred to ground control stations in Pakistan.

Aug 14: Karachi was named among the least liveable cities in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Aug 15: Guinness World Record holder Muhammad Saddi of Faisalabad set new mark when he pulled 2360 kg land cruiser with his moustaches.

Aug 15: Agha Siraj Durrani of the Pakistan Peoples Party was elected as the speaker of Sindh Assembly, becoming only the second individual to occupy the speaker’s slot in Sindh PA for a second consecutive time.

Aug 15: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidates Asad Qaiser and Qasim Khan Suri were elected as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, of the National Assembly.

Aug 15: Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana resigned from his office.

Aug 15: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and Mahmood Jan were elected speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, of the new Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Aug 15: Pakistani-born Mehreen Faruqi became the first female Muslim member to be appointed to the Australian senate.

Greenhouse gases surged to new highs worldwide last year

On Aug 01, the annual State of the Climate Report, compiled by more than 450 scientists from over 60 countries, was released. It suggested that the planet-warming greenhouse gases surged to new highs as abnormally hot temperatures swept the globe and ice melted at record levels in the Arctic last year due to climate change.

Key Findings

1. Heat records

The record for hottest year in modern times was set in 2016, but 2017 was not far behind, with “much-warmer-than-average conditions” across most of the world.

Annual record high temperatures were observed in Argentina, Bulgaria, Spain and Uruguay, while Mexico “broke its annual record for the fourth consecutive year.”

Smashing more heat records, temperatures reached 110.1 degrees Fahrenheit (43.4 Celsius) on January 27 at Puerto Madryn, Argentina, “the highest temperature ever recorded so far south anywhere in the world.”

The world’s highest temperature ever for May was observed on May 28 in Turbat, western Pakistan, with a high of 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with the four warmest years occurring since 2014,” said the report.

Last year marked either the second or the third hottest since the mid 1800s, depending on which data is consulted.

In another alarming milestone, 2017 was also “the warmest non-El Nino year in the instrumental record,” referring to the absence of the occasional ocean warming trend that pushes temperatures higher than normal.

2. Abnormal Arctic

Unprecedented heat enveloped the Arctic, where land surface temperature was 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 Celsius) above the 1981-2010 average.

Arctic temperatures were the second highest – after 2016 – since records began in 1900. “Today’s abnormally warm Arctic air and sea surface temperatures have not been observed in the last 2,000 years,” the report said.

And glaciers across the world shrank for the 38th year in a row.

“Cumulatively since 1980, this loss is equivalent to slicing 22 metres off the top of the average glacier,” said the report.

In the Antarctic, sea ice extent remained below average all year, with record lows observed during the first four months.

3. Record sea level

Global sea level reached record high in 2017 for the sixth consecutive year.

The world’s average sea level is now three inches (7.7 centimetres) higher than in 1993.

“I think of the oceans like a freight train,” oceanographer Gregory Johnson from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory told reporters.

“If we were to freeze greenhouse gases at the level they are today, the oceans would continue to warm and seas would continue to rise for centuries to millennia.”

4. Extreme rain

Precipitation in 2017 “was clearly above the long-term average,” said the report.

Warmer ocean temperatures have led to increasing moisture in the air, particularly in the last three years, causing more rain. Climate change can also exacerbate extreme weather.

Some parts of the world suffered extended droughts, demonstrating that “extreme precipitation is not evenly distributed across the globe.”

5. ‘Most destructive’ coral bleaching

Ocean warming over the last few years has been blamed for widespread coral bleaching, as disease spreads in this precious habitat for fish and marine life.

“The most recent global coral bleaching lasted three full years, June 2014 to May 2017, and was the longest, most widespread and almost certainly most destructive such event on record,” said the report.


July 16: US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a historic summit in Helsinki, Finland. Both leaders vowed a fresh start to troubled relations between the world’s premier nuclear powers.

July 16: Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki reopened his country’s embassy in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in further evidence of a rapid thaw between two countries.

July 16: Gen John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, revealed that the United States was ready to hold talks with the Taliban. A US state department spokesperson also confirmed: “The United States is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government.”

July 16: India test-fired supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.

About BrahMos

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia.

Stages: It is a two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant. It is self-propelled, guided missile that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift. Payload: It is capable of carrying warhead of 300 kilogram (both conventional as well as nuclear).

Accuracy: It operates on ‘fire and forget principle’. It is claimed that missile has strike accuracy rate of 99.99%. It has enhanced destructive power due to large kinetic energy (because of supersonic speed) on impact. It has unique feature of quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.

Speed: It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2.8 to 3 (roughly three times speed of sound). It is hailed as world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.

Range: It was initially capped at 290 km as per obligations of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Since India’s entry into this elite club, its range was extended to 450 km and plan is to increase it to 600km.

July 17: The International Labour Organization (ILO) detained the first fishing boat – in Cape Town, South Africa – under the Work in Fishing Convention.

About the Convention

The Work in Fishing Convention aims to ensure adequate and safe conditions for the estimated 38 million workers in the fisheries industry, which has been plagued by exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking.

The Convention was adopted in 2007 but only came into effect in November last year when it was ratified by a tenth country, Lithuania.

July 17: At the EU-Japan summit in Tokyo, Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the biggest ever trade agreement negotiated by the EU.

Key Parts of the Agreement

With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:

a. scrap Japanese duties on many cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%) as well as on wine exports (currently at 15% on average);

b. allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat;

c. ensure the protection in Japan of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products, so-called Geographical Indications (GIs), and the protection of a selection of Japanese GIs in the EU.

The agreement also opens up services markets, in particular financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport. It furthermore:

a. guarantees EU companies access to the large procurement markets of 48 large Japanese cities, and removes obstacles to procurement in the economically important railway sector at national level;

b. addresses specific sensitivities in the EU, for instance, in the automotive sector, with transition periods of up to 7 years before customs duties are eliminated.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)July 18: England defeated India to win their bilateral ODI series.

July 18: The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day.

Separately, Salehi said that Iran now had a stockpile of up to 950 tons of uranium. He said Iran had imported 550 tons of uranium before the nuclear agreement and had acquired approximately another 400 tons after the agreement , bringing the total stockpile to between 900 and 950 tons.

July 18: The EU antitrust regulators hit Google with a record fine of 4.34 billion euros ($5bn) for using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals.

July 18: The Turkish government ended the nationwide state of emergency that was imposed two years ago after a failed coup attempt.

More than 107,000 people have been removed from public sector jobs by emergency decree since the state of emergency began and more than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial, according to official statistics

July 19: Peru’s Supreme Court president Duberli Rodriguez tendered his resignation after an influence-peddling scandal rocked the country’s justice system.

July 19: Saudi Arabia’s state-owned defence company forged a deal with Spanish ship-builder Navantia for a joint venture to build five warships.

July 19: Indian authorities seized assets of fugitives accused of crimes involving sums over 1 billion rupees, under a bill approved by the lower house of parliament.

July 19: European aerospace giant Airbus conducted the first test flight of the giant new Beluga XL, an even bigger version of the company’s workhorse transport plane.

Israel Now a Jewish State 

On July 19, Israel’s parliament the Knesset adopted a law defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

What does the law say?

Called The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, the legislation essentially defines Israel first and foremost as a Jewish state.

Among its 11 provisions, it describes Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” and says the right to exercise national self-determination there is “unique to the Jewish people”.

It also reiterates the status of Jerusalem under Israeli law, which defines the city – part of which is claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of a future state – as the “complete and united… capital of Israel”.

Controversially, the law singles out Hebrew as the “state’s language”, effectively prioritising it above Arabic which has for decades been recognised as an official language alongside Hebrew.

It ascribes Arabic “special status” saying its standing before the law came into effect will not be harmed.

In one of its clauses, the law advocates the importance of developing of “a Jewish settlement as a national value,” though it is unclear whether this also alludes to settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Why does it matter?

It is important because it is hugely symbolic, and according to Israel’s Arab minority, evidence that Israel is downgrading their status.

Israeli Arabs, many of whom identify as or with Palestinians, comprise about 20% of the country’s nine million-strong population. They have equal rights under the law but have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens and say they face discrimination and worse provision than Israeli Jews when it comes to services such as education, health and housing.

Did You Know?

The Ukranian-made Antonov An-225 Mriya still holds the title for the largest aircraft since its first flight in 1988. With a massive 88 m (290 ft) wingspan and six engines, the one-of-a-kind airplane can carry a staggering 250 metric tons of cargo.

July 20: Researchers created the fastest man-made rotor in the world, which they believe will help them study quantum mechanics. At more than 60 billion revolutions per minute, this machine is more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill.

July 20: Disgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country’s spy agency and was given eight more years in prison, on top of her current term.

July 20: Hackers stole the health records of 1.5 million Singaporeans including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

July 21: World Indoor 60 metres bronze medallist Ronnie Baker won the 100m London Diamond League.

July 22: A meeting of the finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest economies G-20 was held in Argentina. The draft communiqué emphasized that structural reforms were needed to enhance the potential growth of economies, and reaffirmed commitments from the previous G20 finance ministers meeting in March to refrain from competitive devaluations that could have adverse effects on global financial stability.

July 23: Sri Lanka completed a 2-0 series sweep against South Africa in the second and final Test.

July 23: The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s top court, ordered the United Arab Emirates that it must allow families, which include Qatari members, to be reunited, and that Qatari students must be given the chance to complete their education in the Emirates.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and other allies severed ties with Qatar on June 7, 2017, accusing Doha of backing terrorism. Qatari nationals living in the UAE were officially given just 14 days to leave the country.

July 24: The US and Qatar launched a plan to expand Al-Udeid airbase, the biggest military facility used by Washington in the Gulf.

July 25: A former senior US legal official, David Crane, was picked to lead a UN investigation into violence in Gaza.

July 25: Warner Bros, a world-famous American entertainment company headquartered in Burbank, California, opened a sprawling indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

July 25: France’s right-back Benjamin Pavard won the 2018 World Cup Goal of the Tournament Award for his stunning strike against Argentina.

July 25: Iran replaced its central bank governor Valiollah Seif by Abdolnasser Hemmati. Hemmati, 61, had previously served as head of Central Insurance of Iran, as well as both Sina Bank and Bank Melli.

July 25: An auxiliary dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydroelectric project in southern Laos collapsed, releasing five billion cubic metres of water. The deluge swept away thousands of homes, displacing thousands of people.

July 25: A massive underground lake was detected for the first time on Mars. Located under a layer of Martian ice, the lake, the largest body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet, is about 20 kilometres wide.

July 25: Former England wicket-keeper John ‘JT’ Murray died aged 83.

July 25: The heads of the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — met in Johannesburg, South Africa, for an annual summit. The leaders of the five of the biggest emerging economies vowed to stand by the multilateral system and to strengthen economic cooperation in the face of US tariff threats and unilateralism.

July 26: Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk from India, Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam were declared the winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.

About the Award

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

This year’s Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)July 27: Over a thousand rockets belonging to Tipu Sultan, an 18th-century Muslim warrior king in India, were found in an abandoned well in India’s Karnataka state.

July 28: Australia’s Wendy Tuck became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round of The World Yacht Race.

July 28: Taliban reportedly held face-to-face meetings with American diplomats in Doha, Qatar.

July 29: A Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi was released by Israel after she completed her prison term for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier.

July 29: Kathleen Baker sliced more than half a second of her personal best to win the women’s 100m backstroke at the US swimming championships in a world record of 58.00sec.

July 30: Eritrea and Somalia announced to establish diplomatic relations, the latest sign of thawing relations across the Horn of Africa, following Eritrea’s rapprochement with Ethiopia.

July 31: The US State Department named Abdul Rehman al-Dakhil, a senior commander of LeT, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Aug 03: Chinese and Southeast Asian naval forces staged their first computer-simulated drills so they could jointly respond to emergencies and build trust amid the long-seething disputes in the South China Sea.

Aug 03: A London teenager Safaa Boular was jailed for life for plotting a terror attack, becoming the youngest woman to be sentenced for terrorism offences in Britain.

Aug 04: England defeated India in the first Test of the series by 31 runs after a titanic struggle in their 1,000th Test match.

Aug 05: Saudi Arabia’s Mosaad Aldossary defeated Belgian adversary Stefano Pinna on aggregate in the two-legged FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final.

Aug 05: Noted Sindhi fiction writer and poet living in India, Kala Parkash, who had made memorable contribution to Sindhi literature after Independence, died. She was 84.

Aug 05: Reeza Hendricks smashed a century on his One-day International debut to set up South Africa’s series-clinching 78-run victory over Sri Lanka in the third ODI match.

Aug 06: President Donald Trump unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Iran that had been suspended under the nuclear agreement, i.e. JCPOA, signed three years ago.

Aug 06: Bangladesh completed a series-clinching 19-run victory over the West Indies in the final of their three match 20-20 International series.

Aug 06: Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its envoy from Canada while freezing all new trade, in retaliation for Ottawa’s vigorous calls for the release of jailed activists.

Aug 07: China successfully tested its wave-rider hypersonic aircraft the Xingkong-2 – also called Starry Sky-2 – that is capable of flying independently and carrying nuclear warheads.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)

Aug 07: A US court ruled the Trump administration could not enforce an updated policy barring certain transgender people from serving in the US military.

Aug 07: Towering Tamil leader M. Karunanidhi, who began his political career as an anti-Hindi agitator at 14 and fought regressive social mores all his life, died in Chennai, India. He was 94.

Aug 07: Colombia’s new President Ivan Duque took office amid heightened tensions with neighbouring Venezuela and the lingering difficulties of peace-building with the nation’s rebel groups.

Aug 07: Muthuvel Karunanidhi, who parlayed his vocation as a prolific writer of films about the downtrodden into a political career that challenged the upper caste’s hold on Indian politics, died. He was 94.

Aug 08: Germany and Spain concluded a deal under which the latter would take back migrants who had been registered by Spanish authorities.

Aug 08: Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie was declared the most influential woman in history, in a BBC survey.

Aug 09: Colombia recognized Palestine as a sovereign state. Before the announcement, Colombia had been one of only two countries in the region, along with Panama, not to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Aug 10: Nationalist cleric Moqtada Sadr’s alliance won Iraq’s May parliamentary election, according to a manual recount.

Aug 11: A California jury ordered chemical giant Monsanto to pay nearly $290 million for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer roundup might cause cancer.

Aug 11: An airline worker in the United States stole an empty aeroplane from Seattle Tacoma International Airport and crashed it into a nearby sparsely populated Ketron island.

Aug 12: The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan – the five states bordering the resource-rich Caspian Sea – signed a landmark deal on the legal status of the inland sea, which has been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union rendered obsolete agreements between Tehran and Moscow.

Aug 12: England swing king James Anderson became the first to claim 100 Test wickets at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Aug 13: The United States announced to grant Sri Lanka $39 million to boost maritime security, as China develops its strategy on the Indian Ocean island.

Aug 13: Brooks Koepka won the 100th PGA Championship.

Aug 13: Lionel Messi won his 33rd title with Barcelona, becoming the most successful player in the club’s history.

Aug 14: US President Donald Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill that authorized military spending and included watered-down controls on US government contracted with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Aug 14: Malta allowed the Mediterranean rescued ship Aquarius, which had been barred for four days from several coastal states, to dock after five European Union countries agreed to take in 141 migrants on board.

Aug 14: At least 35 people were killed when a motorway bridge collapsed in torrential rains in the northern Italian port city of Genoa.

Aug 15: In response to deliberate US attacks on the country’s economy, Turkey doubled tariffs on some US imports.

World in Focus (July-Aug 2018)

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