World in Focus (Nov-Dec 2014)

World in Focus

National & International News & MCQs

National

Nov 16: Defender, a short film about the Pak Army that features various sections of the military, won the best documentary award in its category at Rome Film Festival 2014.

Nov 17: Pakistan successfully revalidated the design and technical parameters of Shaheen-1A (Hatf-IV), a nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile.

Nov 17: The United States and Pakistan concluded the first phase of a confidence-building dialogue linked to the Pakistani army chief’s maiden visit to the United States.

Nov 18: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, rejected the petitions seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declaring them ineffective.

Nov 18: A new global study by London-based Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Pakistan third on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) list.

Iraq was the country hit hardest by terrorism, with 2,492 attacks that killed more than 6,300 people followed by Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Nigeria and Syria in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Nov 19: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, during his official visit to the US, was conferred on US Legion of Merit Medal for brave leadership, sagacity, vision, efforts for peace and stability in the region.

Nov 19: The Supreme Court disposed of a petition filed against October 12, 1999 military action that removed the Nawaz Sharif government, declaring it infructuous.

Nov 21: The special court seized with trying Musharraf for high treason ordered the federal government to include former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former and existing federal minister Zahid Hamid and former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, as co-accused in the case.

Nov 21: Zahid Hamid, the minister named by a special court as one of the abettors of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, resigned.

Nov 23: University of the Punjab won the All Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest held at PAF Academy Risalpur.

Nov 23: A Swiss federal tribunal ruled that a valuable jewellery set that was seized by authorities in connection with investigations into allegations of graft, belonged to former president Asif Ali Zardari or the legal heirs of the late Benazir Bhutto.

Nov 23: The UK Immigration officials imposed a fine of 2,000 on PIA flight PK-785 carrying an air hostess bearing an expired passport.

Nov 24: Polio vaccination began in South Waziristan after a break of two-and-a-half years.

Nov 24: Another 50MW generated through the wind energy were added to the national grid after the National Transmission and Dispatch Company got the test run of the wind energy plants at Jhimpir (Nooriabad), near Hyderabad.

Nov 24: Pakistan has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear programme capable of making up to 200 nuclear devices by the year 2020, a report entitled ‘Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age Council, released by the Council on Foreign Relations said.

Nov 25: The Supreme Court held that provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, are applicable with equal force even to a person who is not holder of a public office and ordered to proceed against a guarantor of Messers Ittefaq Foundries (Pvt) Ltd in a loan default case.

Nov 25: The Lahore High Court suspended the recovery of debt servicing surcharge (DS-surcharge) on electricity bills levied by the federal government at the rate of 30 paisa per unit.

Nov 25: With a score of 27.8 in the South Asia Women’s Resilience Index, Pakistan is the worst performer when it comes to women empowerment in the face of a disaster, be it natural, economic and conflict related, revealed a latest report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Nov 26: Police recovered 26 girls, aged between five and 11 years, from a two-room house in Liaquatabad C-1 area of Karachi.

Nov 26: President Mamnoon Hussain conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) on Admiral Dr Marsetio, Chief of the Indonesian Navy in recognition of his outstanding services towards further cementing the defence cooperation between the two countries.

Nov 26: The chief minister of Punjab allowed free treatment to the retired officers of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS erstwhile DMG) and Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), who served and got settled in Punjab, in all provincial hospitals. The free treatment is also allowed to the dependent family members of these officers.

Nov 26: The Punjab government constituted a special police contingent trained to control mobs and to disperse them effectively, when needed. The special police contingent includes male as well as female personnel.

Nov 27: A brief meeting between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi salvaged the Saarc summit, held at the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, with all eight countries clinching a last-minute deal to create a regional electricity grid.

Nov 28: Pakistan and Russia expressed their determination to remove all impediments in the way of finalising plans and projects already agreed upon.

Nov 29: Over 1.5 million votes were rejected in the 2013 general elections, far more than the number of ballots rejected in the 2002 and 2008 elections, according to an internal Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) document.

Nov 29: Independent candidate Inamullah Khan Niazi won the by-elections in PP-48 constituency of Darya Khan.

Nov 30: Pakistan emerged as the second largest donor for the World Food Programme (WFP) with a donation of 150,000 metric ton wheat in 2013.

The donation was valued at Rs 5.5 billion ($52 million).

Dec 2: Pakistan’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014 improved. The TI described Pakistan’s CPI score of 29 out of 100 and ranking of 126 among 175 countries as the best. The country has never achieved this distinction since the first CPI was issued in 1995.

Dec 2: A blasphemy case was registered against singer-turned preacher Junaid Jamshed on the directives of a district and sessions court for one of his televised sermons that is thought to contain blasphemous remarks about a wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Dec 3: Police used batons to disperse a group of visually-impaired persons who had gathered on International Day of Persons with Disabilities to protest against disregard of the job quota for special persons and to raise voice for their rights.

Dec 4: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved eight development projects worth Rs157 billion, including two signature projects of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N first phase of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC) and another dedicated rapid transit system for Karachi from Saddar to Surjani.

Dec 4: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif said that the presence of non-state actors was a direct threat to the states’ internal security.

Addressing 8th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar IDEAS-2014 in Karachi, the COAS said terrorists were trying to impose their ideology and that national security was the duty of every institution.

Dec 4: Pakistan’s prestigious Lux Style Awards was held in Karachi’s Movenpick Hotel.

Dec 5: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to forging cooperative relations with the Afghan national unity government. He was speaking at a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. They discussed Pakistan-UK relations, the regional situation and other issues of mutual interest.

Dec 5: Newly-appointed Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan resigned as chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court.

Dec 5: An agreement was signed between Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a loan of $150 million to rehabilitate and upgrade the capacity of two barrages, Trimmu and Panjnad, in Punjab.

Dec 6: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved the release of $16.46 million to the cash-starved PIA to enable it to induct aircraft on dry lease.

Dec 6: A key Al Qaeda commander Adnan el Shukrijumah was eliminated during a raid by Pak Army at a compound in Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan Agency.

The 39-year-old Saudi of Guyanese origin was on the ‘US Most Wanted List’ and carried a reward of $5 million on his head.

Dec 6: Retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan was sworn in as the 14th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Pakistan.

Dec 6: The Government of Pakistan’s policy on electricity subsidies is regressive as it benefits the richest and the most affluent segment of society more than the poorest in the country, the World Bank claims.

In its latest report ‘Addressing Inequality in South Asia’, released on December 4, the World Bank identified the most unjust and regressive part of the government’s power policy where taxpayers’ money is offered as a power subsidy but to the benefit of the richest segment of the society instead of the poor.

Dec 6: The tenure of US assistance under Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) Act expired without providing whole committed amount up to $7.5 billion for Pakistan.

Dec 7: The Lal Masjid-run Jamia Hafsa madrassa for girls expressed its support for the Islamic State (IS) being led by Commander Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi.

Dec 8: An election tribunal ordered inspection of polling bags of the National Assembly constituency NA-122, where NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had been declared victorious in general elections 2013 against the PTI chief, Imran Khan.

Dec 8: During the last session of the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) legislative assembly, a resolution criticising remarks made by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rasheed and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif that GB is not a constitutional part of Pakistan, was adopted.

Dec 9: The Supreme Court disposed of a set of identical petitions seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the counsels failed to convince the court that the premier had misstated facts on the floor of the house.

Dec 9: The kidnapped Punjab Assembly member Rana Jamil Hassan was recovered from the Taliban militants in Khyber Agency.

Dec 9: At the 19th session of Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission (JEC), Pakistan and Iran signed five MoUs to boost cooperation in the field of investment, economic and technical assistance, small and medium enterprises, ports and handicraft.

Dec 10: MQM chief, Altaf Hussain, sent the Karachi and London-based members of the top decision-making forum packing and asked his workers ‘to prove that the MQM can work without them.

Dec 10: The Supreme Court suspended a Nov 25 verdict of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Anti-Terrorism Court, convicting media tycoon and Geo TV owner Mir Shakeelur Rahman.

Dec 10: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif granted approval to enhance the quota of jobs for the disabled from two per cent to three per cent besides lifting ban on their recruitment.

Dec 10: An audit report exonerated ministry of water and power of over-billing in the month of July and, on top of that, the government has decided not to give Rs.8 billion relief to the people it had earlier announced on account of inflated bills.

Dec 12: The country escaped a national power breakdown by a minute margin as some technical fault either in one of the dams or the 500kV transmission lines triggered a domino effect and took the entire system down, suspending supplies to the entire country, except Karachi and some parts of lower Sindh and to some parts of Balochistan.

Dec 12: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a Rs2.32 per unit reduction in electricity tariff.

Dec 12: Co-chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party and former president Asif Ali Zardari was finally acquitted in two corruption references filed against him about 17 years ago.

Dec 12: The caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Sher Jahan Mir took oath of his office. Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Pir Syed Karam Ali Shah administered the oath.

Dec 12: The government decided to keep the ban on YouTube for an indefinite period after a secret trial opening of the video-sharing website.

Dec 13: PTI and the MWM leaders challenged in the Supreme Court the appointment of the newly-appointed Gilgit-Balistan CEC Justice (retd) Tahir Ali Shah, contending that he was ‘unsuitable’ for the post because of his alleged close association with the ruling PML-N.

Dec 15: An antiterrorism court declared Dr Tahirul Qadri a proclaimed offender and issued his arrest warrants in a case of kidnapping and attacking policemen as well as arson at the Lillah motorway interchange.

Economy

Nov 17: The government announced to lift a ban on new gas schemes in the country.

Nov 17: The Asian Development Bank announced an interim plan for six sectors including energy and transport; agriculture and natural resources; rural development; water supply and other urban infrastructure and services; finance; and public sector management to which the ADB assistance will continue.

Nov 19: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Shanghai Chamber of Commerce China signed an agreement for the joint construction of maritime Silk Road economic cooperation and promotion of common development.

Nov 22: According to the ‘Paying Taxes 2015 Study, a report jointly released by the World Bank and PwC, tax filing time has increased by 17 hours in Pakistan due to the introduction of a new provincial VAT (value-added tax) system.

Nov 26: Pakistan raised $1 billion from the international Islamic bond market by selling its Sukuk papers at 6.75 per cent profit rate.

Dec 3: KASB Securities Limited (KSL) was back in business after the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) lifted its suspension of trading facilities imposed on November 18.

Dec 3: Qatar Investment Authority, an investment institution of the Qatar government, announced to make huge investment in Pakistan in various national development projects especially energy generation, gas supply and other sectors.

Dec 7: Sindh increased sugarcane price to Rs182 per maund after growers’ mounted protests against the price temporarily fixed at Rs155 by the agriculture department.

Dec 10: The State Bank of Pakistan claimed in its annual report that the fiscal year 2013-14 was a better year for macro-economy, though most of the targets set for the year could not be achieved, except the fiscal deficit which remained lower than the target.

The report also indicated that the government had artificially managed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 5.5 per cent as it did not pay the amount due in FY14.

Dec 10: Meezan Bank’s Annual Report 2013 was awarded the ‘Certificate of Merit’ in the private banks category by South Asian Federation of Accountants.

Education

Nov 19: Higher Education Commission Pakistan (HEC) declared MCom (3½ years programme) equal to MPhil/MS of Commerce.

Dec 15: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) set up Waris Shah Chair for research on the Punjabi classic poet.

Appointments and Transfers

Nov 17: President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to retired Maj Gen Niaz Mohammad Khan Khattak as chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).

Nov 19: President Mamnoon Hussain granted one year extension to Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmed.

Nov 21: CEO of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Brigadier (Retd) Tariq Saddozai, was appointed as the chairman of NEPRA for five years.

Nov 24: The Secretary of Narcotics Control Division, Muhammad Akbar Khan Hoti, was appointed as director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Acting DG FIA Ghalib Ahmad Bandesha will assume the charge as secretary Narcotics Control Division.

Nov 25: Enver Baig, the chairman of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), resigned from his post. He was later made the chairman of Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).

Nov 27: The board of directors of the K-Electric Limited appointed Tayyab Tareen as the Chief Executive Officer.

Dec 1: Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqi was given additional charge of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) as the incumbent FTO Abdul Rauf Chaudhry went on one-month leave.

Dec 4: On the advice of the prime minister, President Mamnoon Hussain approved the appointment of Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan, the incumbent Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court, as the new Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan. The parliamentary committee for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) had agreed on the name of Justice Khan only a day ahead of the apex court’s deadline.

Dec 9: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Sher Jahan Mir as caretaker chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan after the legislative assembly completed its five-year tenure.

Earlier President Mamnoon Hussain, on recommendation of the prime minister, made amendments in the GB Empowerment and Self-governance Order, 2009, because there was no provision in the law for setting up a caretaker government in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Dec 11: President Mamnoon Hussain, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, approved the appointment of Justice Fida Muhammad Khan, the senior-most judge of the Federal Shariat Court as Acting Chief Justice. The President authorised Justice Sheikh Najmul Hasan, the next senior Judge of the FSC to administer the oath of office to the Acting Chief Justice.

Dec 13: The government decided to appoint Sohail Mahmood as Pakistan’s new ambassador to Turkey. He will be replacing Muhammad Haroon Shaukat.

Dec 15: The government appointed Dr Maleeha Lodhi as the new ambassador to the United Nations. She succeeds Ambassador Masood Khan and will assume her new assignment in February 2015.

Science

Nov 23: While the scientists around the globe are in search of efficient enzymes that can simplify the process of starch hydrolysis for glucose and maltose production, four scientists of the PU’s Institute of Agricultural Sciences, including Dr Nasir Ahmad, Dr Muhammad Saleem Haider, and School of Biological Sciences Dr Naeem Rashid, Dr Muhammad Akhtar, discovered a novel thermo-acidophilic enzyme.

It is worth mentioning that there is not even a single unit of enzyme production in Pakistan.

Sports

Nov 17: M. Inayatullah took the winner’s trophy in the prestigious ‘Premier’ category comprising top 10 players of the country at the Danpak 4th Ranking Scrabble Tournament held at the Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi. A record 84 players featured in four categories.

Nov 17: Experienced wrestler Mohammad Inam lifted bronze medal for Pakistan in the fourth edition of the Asian Beach Games being held in Phuket, Thailand.

Nov 22: Iman Qureshi won the women’s singles title of the 2nd Hassan Tariq Rahim Masters Cup Tennis tournament.

Nov 22: Pakistan lifted bronze medal when they defeated Bahrain 2-1 in the bronze medal match of the men’s handball competitions of the 4th Asian Beach Games at Phuket, Thailand.

Nov 23: Three-year-old bay colt, Risk Free, lifted the Shah Mardan Shah II Pir Pagara VII Memorial Cup at the Karachi Racecourse.

Nov 23: Pakistan kabaddi team won the silver medal after losing to Iran in the final of the 4th Asian Beach Games men’s Kabaddi.

Nov 24: Madeha Hussain of Punjab Law College won a gold medal for the first time in the Punjab University Intercollegiate Karate Championships. Noor Asfia of the same college won the silver medal.

Dec 4: Star-studded polo team Witribe Shahsawars won the Grace King land Polo Cup held at the Lahore Polo Club.

Dec 5: New Zealand beat Pakistan in the second Twenty20 international in Dubai to level the two-match series.

Dec 7: India beat two-time winners and defending champions Pakistan in a thrilling final to be crowned champions of Blind Cricket World Cup.

Dec 7: Rawalpindi’s Ghazanfar Mahmood with an aggregate score of 218 retained the trophy of the three-day Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Amateur Golf championship at the Royal Palm Golf Course, Lahore.

Dec 7: Pakistan won the title of men’s International Handball Tournament by outplaying Yemen in the final played at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF).

Dec 8: Karar Hussain of the DHA shot one under par 71 to win the amateurs gross crown in the Atlas Honda golf tournament played over 18-holes at the Arabian Sea Country Club (ASCC).

Dec 12: Former senator Salim Saifullah Khan took over as president of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) as his group was elected unopposed.

Dec 13:  Pakistan edged out hosts India 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final to set up a Champions Trophy field hockey title clash against Olympic gold medallist Germany.

Dec 13:  The first game of the five-match series between Pakistan A and Kenya was played at the Gaddafi Stadium in what was said to be the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.

Obituaries

Nov 18: Renowned industrialist and former minister Shahzada Alam Monnoo died. He was 80.

Nov 19: Renowned trainer, consultant and motivational speaker Nadeem Chawhan passed away. Chawhan was called ‘The Vizier of Storytelling’ due to his enigmatic, humorous and insightful style of engaging audiences.

Nov 23: Educationist, lyricist, writer and critic Ahmed Aqeel Ruby passed away at 75.

Nov 25: Founder member of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its former Punjab president Ahsan Rasheed passed away.

Nov 29: Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro, secretary general of the Sindh chapter of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, was gunned down at a mosque adjacent to Madressah Haqqania in Sukkur’s SITE area. He was 55.

Nov 29: Former Lahore High Court Chief Justice Rashid Aziz Khan passed away.

Dec 8: Veteran communist leader Comrade Sobho Gianchandani died. He was 95.

Dec 8: Renowned tennis coach Qamaruddin, the father of Davis Cupper Nomi Qamar, passed away.

Dec 9: Usman Ahmed Bilour, the younger son of Awami National Party’s late leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour, died. He was 43.

Dec 10: Mansoor Malangi, the great Seraiki singer died. He was 66.

Dec 11: Renowned Pashto poet Ikramullah Gran Bacha passed away. He was 73.

Dec 12: Noted scholar and former Balochistan Education director, Dr Inamul Haq Kausar, passed away.

The author of 80 books, Dr Kausar rendered meritorious services in the fields of education and literature. He was also awarded with pride of performance and many other accolades.

Dec 14: One of the pioneers in neurosurgery in Pakistan, Prof Bashir Ahmed, passed away.

Dec 15: Adviser to PPP’s Parliamentary Group in the National Assembly and Senate Izhar Amrohvi passed away at 82.

People in News

Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah

Nov 21: President Mamnoon Hussain decorated Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Chief of Naval Staff with Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) in recognition of his long meritorious services, exceptionally commendable performance and inspirable devotion of duty.

Raniya Hosain

Nov 21: Raniya Hosain, a 15-year-old Pakistani student won praise from the Duchess of Cornwall after being declared winner in the Commonwealth Essay competition.

Raniya, who wrote a descriptive essay about Pakistan’s contribution to the Commonwealth, won in the senior category and was especially flown over from Pakistan to take part in a ceremony at the Buckingham Palace.

Nov 26: A gold medal was awarded to Prof Dr Masood Sadiq, dean of the Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health, by President Mamnoon Hussain at the opening ceremony of the 22nd International Biennial Paediatrics Conference in recognition of his services in the field of paediatric cardiology in Pakistan.

Cecil Chaudhry

Nov 29: The government renamed a portion of Lawrence Road to honour the late Cecil Chaudhry, a war veteran of the Pakistan Air Force.

Ushna Suhail

Nov 29: Pakistan ladies tennis champion and FFC Sports Ambassador Ushna Suhail became Pakistan’s first female tennis player to enter International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings.

Fawad Khan

Nov 29: Pakistan’s Fawad Khan was honoured with the Best Bollywood Debut award at the Masala Awards 2014 held in Dubai.

Bilal Tanweer

Dec 3: Writer and translator Bilal Tanweer won the 2014 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize for his novel The Scatter Here Is Too Great.

The judges for this year’s award were: Amit Chaudhuri, Aatish Taseer and Mridula Koshy.

Malala Yousufzai & Kailash Satyarthi

Dec 10: Malala Yousufzai received the Nobel Peace Prize as the youngest ever laureate, sharing her award with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

Nobel winners receive $1.1 million (roughly 110 million rupees), which is shared in the case of joint wins.

Tahira Yasub

Dec 12: Tahira Yasub became the first woman superintendent of police (SP) in Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Shaukat Aziz

Dec 14: The Asian Business Leadership Forum gave ‘ABLE Statesman’ award to the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz, on playing an excellent role in the financial progress of Pakistan in the Asian Union.

Sadruddin Hashwani

Dec 15: Prominent businessman of Pakistan and Chairman of Hashoo Group, Sadruddin Hashwani was honoured with ‘ABLE lifetime achievement Award.

Places in News

Washington

Nov 18: The Pentagon hosted COAS Gen Raheel Sharif for talks with top American defence leaders on US-Pakistan military-to-military relations. Gen Sharif’s delegation was greeted with a full honour guard.

Lahore

Nov 21: During a public gathering in Lahore, Jamaati-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq unveiled his ‘people’s agenda’ containing all features of a welfare state. Presenting himself for accountability as two-time senior minister in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, he expressed hope that the incumbent and former presidents and prime ministers will follow suit to promote good democratic traditions.

Lahore

Nov 24: Fifty noted Muslim scholars and leaders of Islamic movements from 30 countries reaffirmed their pledge of peaceful preaching of Islam and refraining from violence for the cause.

These leaders came to Pakistan to attend Jamaat-e-Islami’s three-day convention at Minar-e-Pakistan.

Lahore

Nov 30: The 7th plenary session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly started in Lahore. As many as 126 parliamentarians from 25 Asian countries attended session of the APA which was launched in 2004.

Karachi

Dec 4: 8th International Defence Exhibition IDEAS-2014 was held in Karachi.

Islamabad

Dec 9: A three-day international conference on sustainable development opened in Islamabad. The conference is being attended by representatives from more than 16 South Asian countries and over 50 international experts.

New Delhi

Dec 12: The India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue-VI, which concluded in New Delhi, suggested eleven modes which could be used actively to facilitate the resumption of dialogue on terms that are mutually acceptable.

The Dialogue was organised by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat).

International

Nov 17: Almost 36 million people are living as slaves across the globe with an index listing Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most prevalent, a report by an Australia-based human rights group ‘The Walk Free Foundation’ said.

Nov 17: Authorities in Burkina Faso named former foreign minister Michel Kafando as country’s transitional president.

Nov 18: A United Nations General Assembly committee adopted a Pakistani-sponsored resolution reaffirming that the universal realisation of the right of peoples to self-determination was a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights.

Nov 19: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa unconditionally pardoned and released five Tamil Nadu fishermen who had been sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Colombo High Court.

Nov 19: Spanish lawmakers adopted a motion calling on their government to recognise a Palestinian state. The motion was adopted nearly unanimously with 319 in favour, two against, and one abstention.

Nov 19: Colonel Isaac Zida, the military officer who took power after the fall of Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore, was named country’s interim prime minister.

Nov 19: Malaysia became the only Muslim country making it to the top 10 in the Global Giving Index 2014 released by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF); a 90-year-old charity in the United Kingdom. The report was based on Gallup data collected across 135 countries.

Nov 19: Oxford Dictionaries picked ‘vape’ the act of smoking an e-cigarette as their new word of the year, with the affectionate bae and the more pragmatic ‘contactless’ as runners-up.

Nov 19: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Muslim world to denounce the ‘monstrous’ crimes of the extremist group that seeks to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

Nov 21: A study by the Swiss bank UBS and luxury industry consultant Wealth-X revealed that a bare 0.004 per cent of the world’s adult population controls nearly $30 trillion in assets, 13pc of the world’s total wealth.

The report said 211,275 people qualify as ‘ultra-high net worth’ (UHNW) those with assets above $30 million. Of them, 2,325 have more than $1 billion.

Nov 21: Prosecutors filed suits against government officials in Spain’s powerful north-eastern region of Catalonia for staging a vote on secession that had been ordered suspended by the constitutional court.

The prosecutor’s office urged Catalonia’s regional court to investigate possible charges of grave disobedience, abuse of public funds, prevarication, usurpation of powers and obstructing justice against Catalan regional President Artur Mas and two other regional officials for staging the November 9 non-binding ballot.

Nov 21: The United Nations adopted the first-ever resolution calling on governments to stop child marriages.

About 15 million girls worldwide become child brides each year and globally, more than 700 million women were married before the age of 18. Unless action is taken, some 1.2 billion girls will be married by 2050, says the Girls Not Brides coalition of non-governmental organisations.

Nov 21: US President Barack Obama announced sweeping immigration reforms that will allow almost five million immigrants to legalise their status in the United States.

Nov 21: In a stunning upset, 17-year-old Pakistani prodigy, Moiz Baig, defeated Nigel Richards, the reigning world champion and arguably the greatest player of all times in the Scrabble Champions Tournament 2014 in London.

Nov 22: President Barack Obama signed an order that permits American personnel to continue to fight the Taliban and other militant groups that pose a threat to either the US forces or Afghan government even after the proposed pullout of most units in December 2014.

Nov 22: Chinese director Lou Ye’s drama ‘Blind Massage’ starring blind amateur actors as massage therapists scooped six gongs out of seven nominations at the Golden Horse Film Awards, touted as the Chinese language Oscars.

Nov 22: The first bus in Britain powered entirely by human and food waste made its first journey.

Bio-Bus, a 40-seater shuttle service between Bath and Bristol Airport, can travel up to 186 miles on just one tank of gas which is generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste deemed unfit for human consumption.

Nov 22: A Tunisian woman Fatma Ben Guefrache, who is also a computer scientist, won a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia. Fatma received a prize which includes a gold watch, a gold dinar and a mini pilgrimage to Mecca.

Nov 23: Afghanistan’s parliament approved agreements with the US and Nato allowing international troops to remain in the country past the end of this year.

Nov 23: Israel’s cabinet approved a contentious bill to officially define as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Nov 24: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned from his post.

Nov 24: Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan told a meeting on women’s rights that gender equality was contrary to nature and said feminists did not recognise the value of motherhood.

Nov 24: South Korea’s education minister apologised and the head of the national exam board resigned after accepting that there were errors in two questions in the country’s cutthroat college entrance test.

Nov 25: Nepal and India signed a deal to build a $1-billion hydropower plant. The deal allows India’s state-owned company Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam to construct a 900-megawatt hydropower project on Nepal’s Arun river, with electricity expected to be generated from 2021.

Nov 25: An influential Bangladesh ex-minister, Abdul Latif Siddique, was jailed over remarks criticising the annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage. He had called the Muslim ritual Haj a ‘waste’ of manpower.

Nov 25: A grand jury, comprising nine white and three black members, in Ferguson determined that officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown in August, should face no charges. Riots erupted overnight after the decision was announced.

Nov 25: At a meeting of the Saarc Foreign Ministers’ Council, it was decided to give up 30-year-old tradition of holding Saarc summit annually. Now from this year, the Saarc will be having its summit biannually.

Nov 25: Afia Nathaniel’s road trip thriller Dukhtar won the awards for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Audience Award for Best Feature’ at the 11th South Asian Film Festival (SAIFF) held in New York City.

Nov 26: South Asian leaders, including from India and Pakistan, discussed trade and energy cooperation and regional peace, but did not reach a consensus on expected transportation and energy agreements at the 18th Summit of the Saarc.

Nov 26: Britain unveiled The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, a draft legislation to ban extremist preachers from universities, increase surveillance on suspected radicals and stem the flow of jihadists joining the Islamic Stage group.

Nov 26: Iran’s parliament approved Iranian Red Crescent chief Mohammad Farhadi as the new science minister.

Nov 26: The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to extend its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Nov 27: A team of scientists led by Dr Francis Collins and Dr Anthony Fauci successfully conducted the first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine.

Nov 27: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) adopted the first worldwide trade reform in its history. The agreement means the WTO will introduce new standards for customs checks and border procedures. Streamlining the flow of trade will add as much as $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy.

Nov 29: The World Bank (WB) said it will loan East African nations $1.2 billion to improve inland waterways and ports in Kenya and Tanzania, as part of efforts to boost integration in the region.

Nov 29: Taiwan’s premier, Jiang Yi-huah, resigned after his Beijing-friendly ruling party suffered a landslide defeat at the island’s biggest ever local elections.

Nov 29: An Egyptian court dropped its case against former president Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising.

Nov 30: Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected proposals that would have forced the central bank to buy huge amounts of gold and imposed strict curbs on immigration.

Nov 30: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gained control over the centre-right opposition and established a steppingstone in his attempt to run the country again.

Dec 1: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks in Ankara with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin aimed at boosting trade and strengthening relations, despite sharp differences over the crisis in Syria and Ukraine.

Dec 1: The Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) executive council, which consists of 25 members, approved the constitution of a special committee to mobilise support and prepare a strategy for establishing Asian Parliament.

Dec 2: Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chu Yiu-ming, the original founders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy Movement announced they would ‘surrender’ by turning themselves in to police and urged protesters on the streets to retreat.

Dec 2: Nato member countries approved a new interim quick-reaction military force to protect themselves from Russia or other threats.

Dec 2: Ukraine’s Parliament approved the formation of a new government, bringing an end to the political wrangling following an October election.

The cabinet approved by lawmakers will be headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who has served as prime minister since February.

Dec 2: France’s lower house of parliament voted to urge the government to recognise a Palestinian state. The vote, approved with 339 votes to 151, is non-binding.

Dec 2: India successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of about 4,000km.

Dec 3: A 900-kilometre railway linking Centra  l Asia to the trade routes of the Persian Gulf through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran was launched.

The route permits train service from Kazakhstan`s city of Uzen through Turkmenistan to Iran’s Gorgan.

Dec 4: The US Congress extended the Coalition Support Fund for Pakistan for a year but has also included some new conditions in its final budget proposals.

Dec 4: Tunisia’s first full elected parliament appointed Mohammed Nacer, vice president of the secular Nidaa Tounes party that won 86 of the 217 seats, as its speaker.

Dec 5: The British Museum sent one of its most precious artefacts for display in Russia, in a gesture of diplomacy amid the biggest rift in relations between the government in Moscow and Nato countries since the Cold War.

Dec 5: US President Barack Obama officially nominated a former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as his new Secretary of Defence. He replaced Chuck Hagel who resigned on Nov 24 but will continue to serve until the Senate confirms Mr Carter.

Dec 5: The House of Representatives adopted an annual US defence spending bill which includes emergency funding for military operations against Islamic jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

The Republican-led House passed the measure by a vote of 300 to 119.

Dec 5: The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor dropped a case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta alleging crimes against humanity, saying there was insufficient evidence to take him to trial.

Dec 6: Members of parliament voted Somalia’s prime minister out of office for the second time in a year.

Dec 6: Britain signed a deal with Bahrain that will bolster the United Kingdom’s military presence in the island nation and give it a more permanent naval base in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region.

Dec 6: An additional 1,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan next year to meet a temporary shortfall in Nato forces, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a visit to Kabul.

Dec 6: UN General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee adopted a resolution outlining the plan, which was proposed by developing countries and strongly backed by Argentina, to develop a new legal framework to restructure national debts and avoid the kind of speculative action that led Argentina to a second default.

Dec 6: The Maldives declared two days of public holidays in a bid to manage fraying tempers and ration supply following a drinking water crisis.

Dec 8: The US and Nato closed their combat command in Afghanistan, more than 13 years after invading the country in the wake of the Sept 11 terror attacks to target Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Dec 8: In Australia’s emotional opening Test against India in Adelaide, the late Phillip Hughes was symbolically named 13th man.

Dec 8: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah appointed new ministers for health, higher education, transport, agriculture, information and Islamic affairs as part of the kingdom’s broadest reshuffle of second-tier posts in years.

Dec 8: The Los Angeles Film Critics Association named Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ a 12-year experiment, their best picture of 2014.

Linklater also earned a best director honour for his film, while Patricia Arquette picked up the best actress.

Dec 9: German Chancellor Angela Merkel was re-elected unopposed as chief of her conservative party.

Dec 9: The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council announced to create a regional police force, known as GCC-POL, which will be based out of the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi.

Dec 9: The US Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s use of torture for coercing information from terror suspects after the attacks of Sept 11, 2001.

Dec 9: The Israeli military’s destruction of civilian buildings during its Protective Edge offensive in summer 2014 amounted to war crimes and must be investigated, Amnesty International said.

Dec 10: The United States senate confirmed the nomination of Richard Rahul Verma as the next US ambassador to India.

Dec 10: Ziad Abu Ein, 55, a Palestinian minister without portfolio, died shortly after Israeli border guards shoved and grabbed him by the throat.

Dec 10: Poland’s top court ruled that Jewish and Muslim communities can perform kosher and halal slaughter, striking down a two-year-old ban as an unconstitutional breach of religious freedom.

Dec 10: Time magazine named the medics who have treated patients struck with the killer Ebola virus as its ‘Person of the Year 2014’ paying tribute to their courage and mercy.

Dec 10: E. H. Shepard’s original ink-drawing of an iconic literary illustration depicting Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends playing ‘poohsticks’ sold at auction in London for a record-breaking £314,500 ($490,470).

The sale of the much-loved A. A. Milne characters Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet broke the world record for any book illustration in the sale at Sotheby’s auction house.

Dec 10: President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe dismissed his vice president Joice Mujuru.

Dec 12: US lawmakers approved fresh economic sanctions against Russia, a move likely to anger President Vladimir Putin as American lawmakers toughen their response to Kremlin’s continued support to rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Dec 12: The Federal Constitutional Court, Germany’s top court, rejected a bid by leftist opposition parties to call former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a witness in a parliamentary probe of US intelligence activities.

Dec 12: Nearly 6,600 people have now died from the Ebola virus, almost all of them in west Africa, the World Health Organisation said.

Dec 12: The Portuguese parliament adopted a recommendation calling upon the government to recognise the Palestinian state, drawing votes from the majority and the opposition.

Dec 12: China banned playing its national anthem at weddings, funerals, balls or other non-political functions and it will now only be performed at certain dignified events.

Dec 13: Iran extended temporary visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees for six months, lifting a threat to send them back home.

Dec 14: About 190 nations agreed to the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change.

Dec 14: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election in a snap poll.

Dec 14: Hazem Sherif, a Syrian from war-torn Aleppo, was declared the winner of this year’s ‘Arab Idol’ singing contest.

Dec 15: The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus on promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue under which the 193-member body affirmed that mutual understanding and dialogue were important components of the culture of peace.

Dec 15: Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the pageant’s final in London.

Sports

Nov 16: India beat Sri Lanka to secure a 5-0 series whitewash in the One-day International series.

Nov 16: Bangladesh thrashed Zimbabwe by 186 to sweep the test series 3-0.

Nov 17: American twins Bob and Mike Bryan claimed the ATP Tour Finals title for the fourth time.

Nov 18: India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the Polly Umrigar Award for 2013-14 when he was declared India’s best international cricketer for 2013-14.

Nov 21: India clinched the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Championship, outclassing Nepal.

Nov 22: Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams were named World Athletes of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Nov 23: British driver Lewis Hamilton clinched his second Formula One title with victory at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Nov 23: Roger Federer defeated Richard Gasquet to seal Switzerland’s maiden Davis Cup title.

Nov 26: Lionel Messi netted his fifth Champions League hat trick in 91 matches to take his tally to 74. The previous record of 71 goals had been set by former Real Madrid and Schalke striker Raul over the course of 142 matches.

Nov 28: Brendon McCullum scored the fastest test century by a New Zealand batsman on only 78 balls. The earlier record was of 81 balls by Ross Taylor.

Nov 29: The 14-year-old Chinese snooker sensation Yan Bingtao won the fully stretched final of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) world amateur championship, held in Bangalore after defeating Pakistan’s Mohammad Sajjad.

Nov 30: Rising American star Jordan Spieth dominated the final round to win the Australian Open Golf by six shots.

Dec 1: Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam became the first cricketer to claim a hat-trick on his debut in a One-day International.

Dec 3: Pakistan and New Zealand dedicated the trophy for their two Twenty20 matches in the Dubai to the memory of late Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.

Dec 3: Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara became only the fourth batsman in history to surpass 13,000 ODI runs.

Dec 8: Argentina beat Australia 3-1 in a penalty shootout in the final of the Women’s Champions Trophy.

Dec 9: New Zealand’s Ross Taylor equalled the record of most successive hundreds in ODIs by making an unbeaten 105 in the first match of the five-match series against Pakistan at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. It was Ross Taylor’s third successive hundred in one dayers.

Pakistan’s Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar and South African Herschelle Gibbs, Arabham de Villiers and Quinton de Kock, have also scored three hundreds in successive ODIs.

Dec 9: World number one Rory McIlroy won the Golf Writers Trophy for the second time in three years.

Dec 10: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was appointed head coach of Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians.

Dec 13: China’s world No.5 Feng Shanshan, the highest ranked player in the field, completed a dominant wire-to-wire victory at the 500,000 euros Ladies European Masters ‘her second win in the European Tour’s season-ending championship in three years.

Dec 14: British boxer Amir Khan won a 12-round bout over former champion Devon Alexander in a welterweight matchup.

Dec 14: Olympic hockey gold-medallists Germany added the Champions Trophy to their list of laurels with a 2-0 victory over spirited Pakistan in the final.

Dec 15: Double Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who won 11 grands prix for Mercedes in 2014, was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The award is widely regarded as Britain’s most prestigious cross-sports accolade.

Obituaries

Nov 16: Ian Craig, the youngest player to play Test cricket for Australia, died aged 79. Ian had debuted in 1953 at 17 years and 239 days.

Nov 16: Alexander Grothendieck, one of the greatest mathematical minds of the twentieth century, died. He was 86.

Alexander is known for his excavating new ground in the field known as algebraic geometry and supplied a theoretical foundation for the solving of some of the most vexing conundrums of modern mathematics.

Nov 25: Legendary Kathak dancer Sitara Devi died at a hospital in Mumbai. She was 94.

Born in 1920 in Kolkata, Sitara Devi drew from the themes, poetry and choreography collected by her father. Having appeared in a clutch of successful movies in which she invariably had a dancing role, Sitara Devi last performed a classic Holi dance in Mother India. Thus she connected two great movie makers, Mehboob who cast her in her last role in Mother India, and K. Asif of Mughal-i-Azam fame to whom she was married for some time.

Nov 26: Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, an icon of Arab music, died at 87.

Nov 27: British detective writer P. D. James, the creator of the best-selling series featuring poetry-writing sleuth Adam Dalgliesh, died at the age of 94.

Nov 30: Mark Strand, whose spare, deceptively simple investigations of rootlessness, alienation and ineffable strangeness of life made him one of America’s most hauntingly meditative poets, died at 80.

Dec 2: Veteran Indian movie comedian Deven Verma passed away. He was 77.

Economy

Nov 17: China and Australia sealed a landmark free trade agreement more than a decade in the making, significantly expanding ties between the two countries.

Nov 27: The European Parliament approved overwhelmingly a resolution calling on the EU to consider ordering search engines to separate their commercial services from their businesses.

Dec 1: Turkey assumed the presidency of the G20 group of major economies for the first time in its history.

Dec 2: Iraq’s government and the autonomous Kurdish region announced an agreement resolving their longstanding disputes over the budget and oil exports.

People in Places

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama

Nov 19: A Christian named Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was inaugurated as governor of the Indonesian capital for the first time in 50 years. He is the first person from the country’s tiny ethnic Chinese minority to become leader of Jakarta.

Katy Perry

Nov 24: Pop star Katy Perry and British boy band One Direction were big winners at the American Music Awards (AMA’s), with both winning three top honours.

Denis Mukwege

Nov 26: Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege received the European Parliament’s Sakharov rights prize for helping thousands of gang rape victims. The 59-year-old Mukwege is often dubbed “Doctor Miracle” for his work with victims in the DR Congo.

Gergely Barki

Nov 27: A long-lost avant-garde painting returned home to Hungary after nine decades thanks to a sharp-eyed art historian. Gergely Barki, a researcher at Hungary’s national gallery in Budapest, noticed Sleeping Lady with Black Vase by bert Berny in the Hollywood film Stuart Little.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Nov 29: The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth suggested that readings from the Quran should feature in the next Coronation when Prince Charles succeeds to the Throne.

Mahesh Savani

Dec 1: Mahesh Savani, an Indian diamond trader, threw a mass wedding ceremony for 111 fatherless women and gave each one gifts worth thousands of dollars.

Fidel Castro

Dec 11: Fidel Castro was awarded China’s version of the Nobel Peace Prize, with a paper close to the ruling Communist Party hailing the former Cuban leader’s important contributions to world peace.

Asha Bhosle

Dec 13: Noted Indian playback singer Asha Bhosle was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

Places in News

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Nov 21: China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang paid a visit to Slovenia in what is being described as crucial for attracting Chinese investments in the tiny eurozone country. He also addresses a Slovenia-China Business Forum held in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital.

London, UK

Nov 24: The World Scrabble Champion concluded in London where Britain’s Craig Beevers lifted the trophy with Chris Lipe of the US stood the runner-up.

Pakistan’s Waseem Khatri won the prize for the biggest win of the tournament when he pulverized Catalin Caba of Romania 684-253.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Nov 27: South Asian leaders signed an agreement to improve the cross-border energy trade in the power-starved region, as the Saarc summit overshadowed by Pakistan-India rivalry ended with little progress towards regional integration.

Bariyapur, Nepal

Nov 28: Hordes of Hindu worshippers slaughtered thousands of animals in a remote corner of Nepal to honour their goddess of power. Sword-wielding devotees poured into Bariyapur making this remote village the world’s largest abattoir, with animals ranging from buffaloes to rats butchered.

London, UK

Dec 5: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to forging cooperative relations with the Afghan national unity government. He was speaking at a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. They discussed Pakistan-UK relations, the regional situation and other issues of mutual interest.

London, UK

Dec 9: New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police, was sold to investors from the UAE, for $580 million.

Beijing, China

Dec 12: A multi-billion-dollar man-made river to divert water from China’s south to its parched north was opened. The central route of the SouthNorth Water Diversion Project, one of the most ambitious engineering projects in Chinese history, will carry water from central China to quench the thirst of Beijing and other areas.

Lima, Peru

Dec 13: The UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), known also as Conference of the Parties (COP 20), concluded its 12-day meeting at Lima, Peru. About 190 nations agreed to the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change.

Weird News

Nov 25: A 22-year-old Pakistani, Asim Abbasi, was declared an alleged Jewish terrorist in the country. Asim, accused of taking an alleged rifle to Belgium, was actually a cricket fan and was taking along with him a bat hidden in a jersey.

Nov 26: In other countries, you may be asked to give a push to a car stuck in the mud. In Russia, passengers in the Arctic came out of an airliner in sub-zero temperatures to help it move to the runway.

A Russian-made Tu-134 with 74 oil workers and seven crew members aboard was due to fly from the town of Igarka to Krasnoyarsk, about 1,300km to the south, when the plane froze to the ground. It was -52°C outside and the passengers seemed desperate to get home.

Dec 4: In the first case of its kind, a New York appeals court rejected an animal rights advocate’s bid to extend ‘legal personhood’ to chimpanzees,  saying the primates are incapable of bearing the responsibilities that come with having legal rights.

Dec 6: A feline named Frank and Louie after he was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses and three blue eyes died at the age of 15.

Dec 15: A Chinese teenager executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago was declared innocent by a court, in a rare overturning of a wrongful conviction.

The 18-year-old, named Hugjiltu and also known as Qoysiletu, was found guilty and put to death in Inner Mongolia in 1996, but doubt was cast on the verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005.

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