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WORLD IN FOCUS

WORLD IN FOCUS

NATIONAL

UK bans Bilour’s entry: Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has been barred by the British government from travelling to the UK in retaliation for the bounty he offered for the murder of a US filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

SC says govt has failed in Balochistan: The Supreme Court said the Balochistan government had constitutionally failed to curb human rights violations, target killings and kidnappings for ransom in the province.

IIUI finally gets president: President Asif Ali Zardari has appointed an educationist of Saudi Arabia Prof. Dr. Ahmad Yousaf A. Al-Draiweesh as president of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).

Pakistan, Iran vow to jointly pursue major projects: President Asif Ali Zardari called for speeding up work on joint projects like the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, electricity transmission lines and rail and road schemes.

During a meeting between President Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the 12th ECO summit, the two sides discussed bilateral, regional and international issues.

Malala to receive Sitara-e-Shujaat: Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced Sitara-e-Shujaat for Malala Yousafzai, who is currently receiving treatment in the UK after being targeted in an attack.

Drug authority bill sails through Senate: The government succeeded in getting the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) Bill passed by the Senate unanimously, though its coalition partners said they were supporting it ‘conditionally’.

Wattoo gets PPP command in Punjab: Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, described by many in the PPP as an ‘outsider’, has become party’s central Punjab president to give a ‘tough time’ to the Sharifs in the coming elections.

Sargana named NAB deputy chairman: President Asif Ali Zardari has appointed Rear Admiral (retd) Saeed Ahmed Sargana as deputy chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Five parties revive MMA, leave out Jamaat-i-Islami, JUI-Sami: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), which exists in parliament only in name, will be revived under the same banner but without two key partners Jamaat-i- Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-1slam (Sami).

Hilal-i-Imtiaz Military for Brunei navy commander: President Asif Ali Zardari conferred Hilal-i-Imtiaz-Military upon Commander Royal Brunei Navy, First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Abdul Halim bin Haji Mohd Hanifah, during a special investiture ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

Beg, Durrani face legal action: The PPP finally stands vindicated after a long wait of 16 years. The Supreme Court ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs.140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.

Peace prize for Youth: The government has instituted the National Peace Prize for Youth for honouring the talented youths of the country who show exemplary courage or high degree of talent by undertaking acts that make a real difference in addressing the issues relating to education and peace in society.

Thousands sing anthem, break world record: Thousands of Pakistanis sang the national anthem in Lahore to break the world record for the most people singing a national anthem simultaneously. The Guinness World Record officials said 42,813 Pakistanis sang the anthem.

Boy makes it to Guinness: Ahmed Bodla set a new world record for kicking 617 times in three minutes. Hailing from Peshawar, 19-year-old Bodla kicked a punching bag 617 times and was observed by the Guinness World Record team which declared him successful.

World’s largest flag record set in Lahore: Pakistan made it to the Guinness Book of World Records with another two records, one for forming the world’s largest national flag by youths and the other a human mosaic of the Lahore Fort at the National Hockey Stadium.

About 24,200 school and college students took almost two and a half hours to complete the formation of the national flag, breaking the previous record set in Hong Kong in 2007 by 21,726 people.

EC can’t act against ISI funds recipients: The Election Commission will not act against the politicians accused of having received funds from Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency prior to the 1990 general election.

Dr Asim resigns Senate seat: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain resigned as Senator.

Durand Line is border, says US: The Durand Line is the internationally recognised boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan, says the US State Department while rejecting the Afghan government’s protest over an earlier US statement on Pakistan-Afghan border.

Asif Malik new PIA chairman: Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Asif Yaseen Malik has been appointed ex-officio chairman of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation and Captain Muhammad Junaid Yunus Managing Director of the national airline.

Pakistan backs China’s stand on Taiwan, Tibet, Sinkiang: The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs expressed resolve to support Chinese stand on Taiwan, Tibet and Sinkiang issues.

Committee also condemned the miscreants for disturbing peaceful conditions in Sinkiang in the name of Jihad as well as defaming Islam in pursue of Western vested agenda and personal gains.

Pak cricket team to tour India: The Indian government has cleared Pakistan’s cricket team to make a short tour in December for three One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 matches.

PTCL honoured: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has been honoured with the prestigious 3rd Global HR Excellence Award 2012 for its outstanding achievements and organisational performance.

Germany to help build solar energy projects: The Punjab government and German company AEG signed a memorandum of understanding for coopera tion in solar energy projects.

Solar energy projects of at least 50 to 100 megawatts will be set up in Punjab in 2013 and 300 megawatts in 2014 under the agreement.

NLA renamed as National Language Promotion Department: The National Language Authority (NLA) has been renamed as the National Language Promotion Department (NLPD).

The names of senior administrative positions have also been changed and now instead of chairman and secretary, director general and executive directors will be written and used.

Israrul Haq elected SCBA president: Mian Israrul Haq swept to victory in the election for the Supreme Court Bar Association and notched up the president’s slot for 2012-13. He defeated Ahmad Awais of the Hamid Khan-led Professional Group by a comfortable margin of 287 votes.

Cabinet ratifies visa accord with India: Seven weeks after the government signed a new visa regime with India, the federal cabinet finally ratified the agreement, thus paving the way for its implementation by the Pakistani side.

Netherlands pledges $2.5m for Balochistan: The Netherlands has announced a contribution of $2.5 million to support the ‘Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Programme’ in Balochistan.

The Dutch government and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed an agreement to this effect.

‘India violated Indus Water Treaty in Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project’: A three-member committee headed by Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), has held India responsible for building Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project in violation of the Indus Water Treaty and declared Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, former commissioner of Pakistan Commission of Indus Water as innocent.

BISP signs accord with DFID to enrol 3m children to schools: The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and UK Department for International Development (DFID) signed an agreement on UK’s contribution of 300 million in support of the largest social protection programme in Pakistan.

Dr Fehmida elected SAARC speakers conference chair: The Council of Speakers approved the agenda for the 6th SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians Conference, elected Dr Fehmida Mirza as chairperson for the conference and decided the venue for the 7th SAARC Speakers Conference.

The council also decided that the next Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians will be held in Maldives in last quarter of year 2013.

Kayani hits back: Riled up over onslaught of jabs against the military, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani responded to the critics warning them against undermining the institutions and behaving as the sole arbiters of the national interest.

CJ renews stance: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry emphasised that missiles and tanks never guaranteed stability and security of a country nor were considered manifestation of a ‘hard power’.

PPL signs deal with Iraq: Iraq signed a five-year deal with Pakistan Petroleum for the company to explore a massive tract of land believed to contain gas, the latest step in Baghdad’s efforts to boost energy output.

EU grant for Munda Dam climate impact study: The European Union (EU) has provided 1.2 million euros as grant to conduct climate change impact assessment study in Swat basin for Munda Dam project, located in Mohmand Agency of the Federally Adminis tered Tribal Areas (FATA).

New agriculture varsity goes operational: Bahauddin Zakariya University Vice Chancellor Dr Khawaja Alqama inaugurated classes at newly established Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture.

Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) conferred on UAE COS: The acting president, on the advice of the prime minister, has approved conferment of Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) upon Lt Gen Hamad Mohammed Thani Al-Rumaithi, Chief of Staff United Arab Emirates in recognition of his services for strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Australian premier calls for sheep culling probe: Prime Minister Julia Gillard demanded that Pakistan investigate and explain the killing of 21,000 Australian sheep in Karachi, described as ‘appalling’ by officials.

Aafia loses appeal against conviction: A US appeals court has upheld the conviction and 86-year prison sentence of Aafia Siddiqui for shooting at FBI agents and soldiers after her arrest in Afghanistan.

Letter sent at last to Swiss authorities: The government has finally dispatched a letter to Swiss legal authorities in line with the Supreme Court’s order in the NRO case, seeking revival of a graft case which also involves President Asif Ali Zardari.

LNG import agreement signed with Qatar: Pakistan and Qatar agreed to collaborate in energy and trade and discussed formalities for Pakistan importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

ADB, OFID sign risk-sharing agreement: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) signed a risk distribution agreement to support trade in emerging Asian countries, including Pakistan under the ADB’s trade finance programme (TFP).

Ban imposed on cell phone portability: The government has banned mobile number portability (MNP), barring cellular phone subscribers from switching over to other networks while retaining the number issued by the first service provider.

PPSC chief takes oath: Governor Latif Khosa administered oath to new Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Safdar Javid Syed.

Primary literacy plan launched for 3m poor children: The government launched a four-year literacy programme under which more than three million children of poor families, especially girls, will get free education.

PTAs with Russia, CARs reinitiated: Pakistan has reinitiated a move to get Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and Unilateral Market Access with the Russian Federation and five Central Asian Republics (CARs) to benefit from the land route transit facility available under the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

World unites for education on Malala Day: Malala Day was observed throughout the world under the banner of the United Nations.

International

Mo Yan of China wins Nobel Literature Prize: Mo Yan, one of China’s leading writers of the past half-century, won the Nobel Literature Prize for his writing that mixes folk tales, history and the contemporary, the Swedish Academy announced.

At 57, he became the first Chinese national to win the prize, and the initial official reaction indicated it would be held up as a victory for China, in sharp contrast to Beijing’s angry response to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for dissident Liu Xiaobo. Chinese-born writer, political dissident and exile Gao Xingian, who received French citizenship in 1997, won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2000 but it was ignored by the Chinese press at the time.

Third of world’s population has Internet: UN agency: More than a third of the world’s population is online while mobile phone uptake increased by more than 600 million in 2011 to around six billion, a UN agency said.

A diamond bigger than Earth: Forget the diamond as big as the Ritz. This one’s bigger than planet Earth.
Orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye, astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our own made largely out of diamond. The rocky planet, called ’55 Cancrie’, orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.

Afghan war gets new leader: General Joseph Dunford, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and a combat veteran who led a regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has been nominated by President Barack Obama as his new commander to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize: The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace, democracy and human rights over six decades in an award seen as a morale boost as the bloc struggles to resolve its economic crisis.

Netanyahu denies Golan pullout offer for peace with Syria: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied a report that he had offered to quit the occupied Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria in US-mediated negotiations last year.

US picks retired diplomat to be senior envoy in Libya: The administration of President Barack Obama has recalled a veteran diplomat, Laurence Pope, who retired from the Foreign Service 12 years ago, to serve as the senior US envoy in Libya.

Mr Pope has been appointed as the charged ‘affaires and arrived in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. His appointment came one month after the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens in an attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Rats recruited to hunt for TB in Mozambique: A swarm of trained rats is on its way to Mozambique to help the country’s over-stretched health system detect tuberculosis in patients. The authorities have enlisted the much-maligned rodents to help sniff out the disease, after Mozambique’s first lady learned of their success in neighbouring Tanzania.

Bangladesh 5th most disaster-prone country: Bangladesh is the fifth most natural disaster-prone country among 173 countries in the world, according to the World Risk Report 2012.

Painting sale sets record for living artist: ‘Abstraktes Bild (809-4)’ an abstract painting, by German artist Gerhard Richter has set a new record for the price paid at auction for the work of a living artist, after selling for $34.2 million, Sotheby’s auction house in London said.

Nepal’s government launches Literate Nepal Campaign: The Nepal government has launched a ‘Literate Nepal Campaign’ with a view to uprooting illiteracy from Nepal by 2015.

Austrian daredevil succeeds in space jump: Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner made a record-breaking leap from the edge of space, landing safely in the New Mexico desert after freefalling from more than 24 miles above the Earth.

Ali Zeidan elected Libya’s PM: Libya’s General National Congress elected Ali Zeidan, a long-time opponent of deposed dictator Moammar Qadhafi, as prime minister, the assembly’s chief said.

Mauritania’s president shot by army unit: Mauritania’s president was flown to France for surgery after the Western ally against al-Qaeda was shot by soldiers in what he said was an accident. The shooting set the coup-prone northwest African country on edge and President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz ‘in a televised message from his hospital bed’ appealed to Mauritanians to keep calm.

Myanmar bars OIC from opening its office: Myanmar’s president blocked the world Islamic body, OIC, from opening an office in the country, bowing to rallies against its efforts to help Muslims in unrest-hit Rakhine state.

The Global Times Scotland to hold referendum on independence in 2014: Britain’s prime minister and Scotland’s first minister signed an agreement to hold a referendum in 2014 on Scottish independence that could lead to the United Kingdom breaking up after 300 years. Prime Minister David Cameron and pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond inked the agreement after a meeting at the Scottish government building St Andrews House in Edinburgh.

Governing coalition wins vote and will remain in power: Montenegro’s governing coalition has won the most votes in a parliamentary election and is set to stay in power after having held power in the Balkan country for more than two decades amid economic troubles and allegations of crime and corruption.

Two US scholars get Nobel Economics Prize: US scholars Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel Economics Prize for their work on how to best match supply and demand that has potential applications in organ donation, education and on the Internet.

Seven masterpieces stolen in Dutch museum heist: Seven masterpieces, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin, were stolen in a pre-dawn heist at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, the biggest such theft in the Netherlands in two decades.

Planet with four suns discovered: An international team of amateur and professional astronomers announced the discovery of a planet whose skies are lit up by four suns’ the first reported case of such a phenomenon.

400 plants and animals added to ‘threatened’ list: An island-dwelling cockroach and a tiny snail were declared extinct while 400 plants and animals were added to a threatened “Red List” as global environment ministers met in India.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its authoritative study on the state of biodiversity on Earth, saying 20,219 species were at risk of dying out.

Mantel makes history with second Booker prize: Hilary Mantel wrote herself into the history books, becoming the first woman and first Briton to win the coveted Man Booker prize for fiction twice with ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, the sequel to her acclaimed ‘Wolf Hall’.
Two men had previously ‘done the double’ J. M. Coetzee who was born in South Africa and Australia’s Peter Carey.

Planet discovered in Earth’s backyard: Astronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone’s throw away at four light years, raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in Earth’s neighbourhood.

Researchers say the new planet is too close to its sun to support known forms of life, with a surface temperature estimated at 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,192 Fahrenheit). But previous studies suggest that when one planet is discovered orbiting a sun, there are usually others in the same system.

The new Earth-sized planet, announced in science journal Nature by Stephane Udry and Xavier Dumusque at the Geneva Observatory, orbits one of the suns in Alpha Centauri, roughly 25 trillion miles away.

UNSC gets new members: The United Nations General Assembly elected Argentina, Australia, Luxemburg, Rwanda and South Korea to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2013.

The five will replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on December 31. Non-permanent members Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, and Togo will remain on the council till the end of 2013.

Newsweek discontinues print edition, goes digital: Newsweek announced it would end an 80-year run as a print magazine, taking the venerable publication all-digital in another sign of the woes of an industry struggling in the Internet age.

Russia test-fires two ballistic missiles: Russia test-fired two nuclear-capable ballistic missiles as it continued to hone their effectiveness amid an escalating row with the United States over space defence and other issues.

The Russian defence ministry and a navy officials said the Topol and R-29R rockets were fired from an underground bunker and a submerged submarine on opposite sides of the country in the northwest and Far East.

Voters in Iceland back new constitution: Residents of Iceland have voted for their constitution to be rewritten in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis, electing to take greater control of natural resources such as fish and geothermal energy, results of a referendum showed.

New air force chief is picked in reshuffle of military leaders: China has named a new air force chief and reshuffled other top military positions before the appointment of new Communist Party leaders in November.

The state broadcaster CCTV said that the former deputy chief of staff, Ma Xiaotian, had been made head of the air force. General Ma is well-known as a frequent participant in the Chinese military’s overseas exchanges.

Philippines and New Zealand sign defence and energy pacts: President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines met with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand in Wellington, after which the two countries signed agreements that would increase the number of defence training exercises, improve geothermal energy cooperation and begin a new working-holiday exchange programme for a small number of workers.

Bangladesh rebuilds Buddhist temples: Bangladesh has started rebuilding 19 Buddhist temples vandalised by Muslim mobs in violence triggered by anger over Facebook content that defamed the holy Quran.

All Israeli settlements are illegal, declares UN rapporteur: ‘All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established in clear violation of international law,’ said Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied territories.

Ivanishvili becomes new Georgian prime minister: Georgia’s parliament confirmed billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister after his coalition defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party at polls this month.

Iranian filmmaker, lawyer win EU’s Prize: The European Union’s prize for human rights and freedom of thought was awarded to two Iranians, a lawyer and a filmmaker who have both been cut off from the outside world for defying the
country’s leadership.

India’s new FM blends pedigree with erudition: Salman Khurshid, India’s new foreign minister, blends an illustrious pedigree, an impressive Oxford-based educational resume and a formidable track record as a Congress politician who cut his teeth in the heat and dust of Uttar Pradesh politics.

Singh overhauls cabinet; Rahul gets no post: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought seven new faces into his cabinet in the biggest reshuffle since his re-election as he tried to revive his party’s flagging fortunes before polls due in 2014.

Monster storm lashes US East Coast: Almost 60 million people braced themselves for any eventuality as Hurricane Sandy began to lash the densely-populated US East Coast, bringing tidal waves and gusty winds while incessant rain drenched cities from Boston to Washington.

For the first time since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Wall Street also closed its doors. Manhattan looked deserted. The government in Washington shut down. Thousands of schools asked students to stay home.

Asian nations agree on $23bn projects: The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme nations have agreed on a plan to implement more than $23 billion in new regional transport infrastructure projects, together with energy and trade initiatives, aimed at creating seamless connectivity and greater prosperity in the region.

The ‘Wuhan Action Plan’, unveiled at the CAREC ministerial meeting in Wuhan in China prioritised 68 transport projects which will contribute to six major corridors linking the ports in eastern China with the Caucasus and beyond, and connecting northern Kazakhstan to the trading hubs in Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan.

NY, New Jersey smothered by storm; 38 dead: The silence after the storm was eerie, as if the monster that has been pounding the US East Coast for two days, was giving more than 50 million terrorised residents a respite to count their losses: 38 deaths, 80 homes burned, 7.5 million homes and shops without electricity and more than $20 billion wasted.

The president declared ‘major disaster’ in New York, Long Island and New Jersey, offering federal funding for rescue and rehabilitation.

Navy commander appointed Venezuelan defence minister: President Hugo Chavez has appointed the commander of the Venezuelan Navy as his new defence minister, replacing a confidant whom he has tapped as a candidate in coming regional elections.

Taliban can run for Afghan president: election chief: The Taliban and other insurgent leaders could stand as candidates in Afghanistan’s next presidential election, to be held in April 2014, the country’s top poll official said.

President Hamid Karzai, who is serving his second term as leader of the war-torn nation, is constitutionally barred from running in the election and no clear candidate to succeed him has yet emerged.

Libyan parliament okays new cabinet: Libya’s parliament approved the country’s new cabinet in a vote of confidence but some ministers will get a second look.

Russia puts first sites on new Internet blacklist: Russian put into force a new law on the Internet that allows the government to block websites with banned content, prompting fears that it will be used to suppress free speech.

Fighters angry at cabinet besiege Libya assembly: Nearly 100 Libyan fighters backed by artillery have circled and occupied the national assembly in protest over the new prime minister’s cabinet lineup.

New three-fingered frog discovered in southern Brazil: On a trek across this Atlantic rainforest reserve in southern Brazil, biologist Michel Garey recalled how on his birthday in 2007 he chanced upon what turned out to be a new species of tiny, three-fingered frogs.

World’s oldest post office honoured: A plaque has been unveiled at the world’s oldest post office to celebrate 300 years of service. Sanquhar post office in Dumfries and Galloway began as a staging post for mail carriages in 1712.

Sanquhar is recognised as the world’s oldest by both the Universal Postal Union and the Guinness Book of World Record.

Tawadros chosen new Coptic pope: Bishop Tawadros was chosen as new Pope of Egypt’s Coptic Christians when a blindfolded altar boy picked his name from a chalice in a ceremony invoking divine guidance for the beleaguered minority.

UNSC orders global curbs on Haqqani network: The UN Security Council order global sanctions against the Haqqani militant network which has been blamed for deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

Putin sacks defence minister: President Vladimir Putin fired Russia’s defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov over corruption allegations, the latest twist in an unfolding saga of power, money and suspected adultery at the heart of the Kremlin.

Obama gets four more years, but faces hostile House: US President Barack Obama cruised comfortably to a second term in the White House by winning 303 of the 538 Electoral College votes, (although main media outlets projected late in the day that he had also won the state of Florida, with 29 votes, taking his overall tally to 332). However, Obama’s popular mandate remains thin ’50 per cent against 48 per cent of his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Mr Romney won 206 electoral votes against 270 needed to win.

Interpol gets first female president: Interpol elected a French police commissioner Mireille Balesstrazzi known for her drive against organised crime in Bordeaux and Corsica as its first female president at its general assembly in Rome.

Record number of women elected to US Congress: One of America’s most male-dominated clubs is about to become a little less so, after historic election gains that will see the largest number of women ever seated in the US Congress. As a result of vote, women ‘beginning with the new legislative session in January ‘will hold 20 seats in the Senate, about one-fifth of the US legislative chamber.

Pacific’s Tokelau in world’s first solar switch: The remote Pacific islands of Tokelau have become the first territory in the world to generate their electricity entirely from solar energy, in a project hailed as an environmental milestone.

Before the solar power grid was completed, the New Zealand-administered grouping of three coral atolls, with a population of just 1,500, relied on diesel generators for electricity.

Britain to end aid to India in 2015: Britain will stop all aid to India in 2015 and the assistance budget will be reduced by around pound 200 million ($320m) until then, the international development minister said.

CIA chief Petraeus quits for ‘personal reasons’: David Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has resigned, citing ‘personal reasons’ in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama, the White House said.

Philippines, Canada ink defence deal: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Filipino President Benigno Aquino signed a deal to help Manila buy military equipment to defend its territory.

Thailand, S. Korea agree to $30bn trade package: Thailand and South Korea agreed to more than double their annual trade to $30 billion over the next five years, the kingdom’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said.

SPORTS

Kumble replaces Lloyd as ICC cricket committee chief: Former Indian captain Anil Kumble was appointed head of the influential cricket committee ‘which helps to draw up rules on playing issues’ of the ICC, replacing West Indian legend Clive Lloyd.

Nofil, Ahmed clinch U-14 doubles crown in Thailand: Syed Nofil Kaleem (Pakistan) and Ahmed Mohammed (Bahrain) beat Koki (Japan) and Palm (Thailand) splendidly 6-3, 6-2 to clinch ATF Under-14 doubles event (second leg) finals at Nothanburi Tennis Centre, Thailand.

Russian President Putin awarded black belt: International Judo Federation (IJF) has awarded Russian President Vladimir Putin, a black belt in judo, the eighth dan, one of the sport’s highest honours.

Kaltenborn becomes first female F1 principal: Indian-born Monisha Kaltenborn became Formula One’s first female team principal after taking the helm at Sauber from founder Peter Sauber with immediate effect.

300 weeks at zenith makes Federer feel proud: Swiss legend Roger Federer has consistently ripped up the record books during his glittering career but his latest landmark ‘300 weeks at number one’ is one of his proudest achievements.

West Indies, Zimbabwe first to receive ICC funding: West Indies and Zimbabwe have become the first full member nations to receive ICC funding totalling $4.5m over a three-year period as part of its Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP) aimed at developing more competitive teams at the highest level.

Rose beats Westwood to win World Golf Final: Justin Rose drew on memories of last month’s Ryder Cup singles defeat of Phil Mickelson to also defeat fellow England golfer Lee Westwood by a stroke and capture the World Golf Final.

Djokovic downs Murray in Shanghai thriller: Novak Djokovic avenged his US Open defeat to beat Andy Murray, saving five match points to seal a stunning victory in the Shanghai Masters final.

Azarenka wins sixth season title in Linz: World number one Victoria Azarenka claimed her sixth title this season when she beat German Julia Goerges in straight sets at the Linz WTA tournament.

Nazmul named new BCB president: Bangladesh has appointed ruling party lawmaker Nazmul Hasan as the new president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

IBF welterweight title goes to Alexander: US southpaw Devon Alexander took the International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight crown with a unanimous 12-round decision over compatriot Randall Bailey.

Seto sets new swimming WC record: Japanese teenager Daiya Seto set a new World Cup record in the 400m Individual Medley final on the opening day of Berlin’s short course meet.

Armstrong stripped of seven Tour titles, banned for life: Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions against the American.

Hey first woman to serve on CA board: Banker Jacquie Hey broke more than a century of male exclusivity when she was unanimously voted onto the board of Cricket Australia (CA).

Sixers maul Lions to win Champions League T20: Michael Lumb struck a belligerent unbeaten 82 as Sydney Sixers overwhelmed Highveld Lions by 10 wickets with 45 balls to spare in the Champions League Twenty20 final at the Wanderers.

Proteas dethrone Pakistan in HK Sixes final: South Africa beat defending champions Pakistan by 37 runs in the final of the Hong Kong Super Sixes tournament in Hong Kong.

Afghan pugilist wins in country’s first pro-boxing bout: A joyous Kabul crowd invaded the ring to celebrate a local victory in Afghanistan’s first professional men’s boxing match, after Hamid Rahimi beat Tanzanian Said Mbelwa in seven rounds.

Afghan fighter Rahimi took the World Boxing Organisation Intercontinental middleweight belt in the ‘Fight 4 Peace’.

Sana’s heroics in vain as India women lift Asia Cup: Skipper Sana Mir produced a splendid all-round display but her efforts went in vain as India defeated Pakistan by 18 runs in the final to win the Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup cricket tournament in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Yamanaka retains WBC bantamweight crown: Japan’s Shinsuke Yamanaka knocked out Tomas Rojas of Mexico to defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title.

Czechs overwhelm Serbs to retain Fed Cup: The Czech Republic won a second straight Fed Cup after Lucie Safarova gave them an unbeatable 3-1 lead over Serbia by thrashing Jelena Jankovice 6-1, 6-1.

Pakistan annex Asia Cup Kabaddi title: Pakistan dethroned India after beating them 40-31 in an exciting final of the 2nd Asia Kabaddi Cup 2012 at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.

Federer outclasses Tipsarevic: Roger Federer chalked up yet another record when victory over Janko Tipsarevic at the ATP World Tour Finals put him top of the list for match wins at the traditional season-ender.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion cruised to victory over the Serbian world No. 9, taking his haul of victims in the event to 40, one more than Ivan Lendl.

Tendulkar bestowed with Australian honour: Superstar batsman Sachin Tendulkar became the first Indian sportsman to be honoured with membership of the Order of Australia.

Hanoi wins race to host 2019 Asian Games: Hanoi won the right to host the 2019 Asian Games, sparking celebrations among Vietnamese officials who said the decision would unlock millions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Pakistan thrash Nepal to clinch baseball crown: Pakistan claimed the baseball title of the Punjab International Sports Festival when they trounced Nepal 15-0 in the final encounter.

Mendis stars in Sri Lanka one-day series win: Jeevan Mendis grabbed three wickets as Sri Lanka clinched the one-day series against New Zealand with a comfortable seven-wicket win in the fourth match in Hambantota.

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