World in FOCUS (Oct-Nov 2015)

World in FOCUS (Oct-Nov 2015)

National, International News


Oct 16: Following an agreement between MQM and the government, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif set up a Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC).

Oct 16: The Supreme Court declared that the present composition of the Federal Services Tribunal (FST) was illegal, and ordered the federal government to de-notify the appointment of its Chairman Sheikh Ahmad Farooq and all 11 members of the tribunal.

Oct 17: The federal government asked the Supreme Court to reconsider a ban on hunting houbara bustard by foreign dignitaries, saying the restriction was adversely affecting the country’s already-weakened relations with the Gulf states in the wake of turmoil in the region.

Oct 18: Ahead of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s US visit, a senior US lawmaker introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives supporting bilateral cooperation in various fields and the strengthening of the democratic process in the country.

Oct 20: Aftab Sherpao’s QWP rejoined the PTI-led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when Sikandar Hayat Sherpao and Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli took oath as provincial ministers.

Oct 21: The senate standing committee on finance, revenue and economic affairs deferred the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Amendment Bill 2014 due to opposing stance by some of its members.

Oct 22: After an unusual, two-hour-long meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Barack Obama, the United States and Pakistan agreed to take effective action against all terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba.

According to a joint statement issued after the meeting, Pakistan also agreed to ensure that all Taliban groups, including the Haqqani Network, “are unable to operate from the soil of Pakistan.”

Oct 22: Pakistan-made Burraq drone took part in air attacks carried out by security forces in South Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions, leaving at least 21 suspected militants dead.

It was the first night strike by indigenously developed Burraq with pinpoint accuracy.

Oct 26: The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) unanimously recommended the federal government that the western route should be built as a dual carriage way at the outset and eventually there should be a Motorway linking Gwadar with the rest of the country along the western route as after operationalisation of Gwadar Port, traffic on the western route will increase substantially.

World in Focus For CSS

Oct 26: More than 280 people were killed and over 1,580 injured when a deadly earthquake, measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, rocked parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tremors were also felt in northern India and Tajikistan.

Oct 27: The Edhi Foundation declined a $150,000 donation from the Indian prime minister in recompense for 13 years of caring for a lost Indian girl whose quest to return home captivated the Subcontinent.

Oct 28: The Supreme Court ordered fresh elections in the crucial NA-154 constituency in Lodhran.

Oct 29: Syed Ali Zafar of Asma Jahangir-led Independent Group notched the slot of president of the Supreme Court Bar Association for the year 2015-16.

Oct 29: The United Nations agreed to reimburse Pakistan $2.3 million it owed to the country from the residual amount earlier contributed by Islamabad for an inquiry into the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

Oct 30: The PTI chief Imran Khan and his second wife Reham Khan decided to part ways.

Oct 30: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia concluded their first joint counter-terrorism exercises code-named As-Shahab-1. Special services forces of the two countries participated in the 12-day exercises at the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Pabbi, near Jhelum.

The training drills included exercises for advanced shooting techniques; fighting in built-up areas; cordon and search operations; and airdropping and heli-lifting of troops for operations.

Oct 31: The first phase of the local body polls was held in 12 district of Punjab.

Nov 02: The Pemra banned media coverage of proscribed organisations, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

Nov 02: MQM senators withdrew resignations and attended the Senate session.

Nov 02: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) rejected a reference filed by the PTI against the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for what it claimed committing irregularities in the 2013 general election.

Nov 03: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) signed a joint work plan to promote a child-centred disaster risk reduction approach in Pakistan.

The work plan, signed by NDMA Chairman Maj Gen Asghar Nawaz and acting Unicef Representative Cris Munduate, focuses on the promotion of child-centred disaster risk reduction through child-inclusive risk assessment; implementation of a comprehensive school safety programme; and encouraging children’s participation through advocacy and communication knowledge management.

Nov 03: In his rare speech to the Senate, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, asked Parliament to play its role in checking corruption and crimes.

Nov 03: A parliamentary panel approved sentencing child rapists to death or, at least, life imprisonment.

Nov 04: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif reached out to Saudi Arabia for seeking help in countering the threat of extremist violence faced by Pakistan.

Gen Sharif’s two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he met King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, focused on cooperation for countering terrorism and extremism.

Nov 06: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced suspension of an agreement on readmission of illegal immigrants with the European Union.

Nov 08: Prime Minister Sharif formed a five-member committee, headed by his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, for finalising reforms in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Nov 09: The ruling PML-N candidate Sardar Ayaz Sadiq took oath as the Speaker National Assembly for the second time after the House voted him to the prestigious office by over two-thirds majority in the speaker’s election.

Nov 09: The National Assembly passed the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to further amend the SBP Act of 1956. The purpose of amendments is to bring the existing legislation in conformity with the international best practices of a modern central bank.

Nov 09: Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman witnessed the ongoing exercise ‘Seaspark’ in the Arabian Sea.

Nov 09: The National Assembly passed the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2015 when the quorum was not complete due to the absence of opposition members.

Nov 10: The army went public with its concerns about poor implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and warned that efficacy of its counter-terrorism efforts could be undercut by inadequate supporting actions by civilian agencies.

Nov 10: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered reinvestigation of the Musharraf treason case and nullified the special court’s earlier decision which had directed the federal government to resubmit its complaint in the case after including the names of abettors in the charge sheet.

Nov 10: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Belarusian counterpart Andrei Kobyakov agreed to a roadmap for economic cooperation between their countries and vowed to increase trade to $1 billion.

Nov 11: Pakistan handed over 637 acres of land to China for establishing a free trade zone at Gwadar. Speaking at the occasion, Balochistan’s Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch said that Gwadar is going to be at the forefront of future development in Pakistan.

Nov 11: Confirming that Balochistan’s chief minister and a federal minister have held a meeting with him in Geneva, self-exiled leader of the separatist Baloch Republican Party (BRP), Brahamdagh Bugti, said that he was ready for dialogue to settle the longstanding turbulence in the province.

Nov 11: The National Assembly gave its assent to an amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), 1952, providing legal cover to the arrests already made by law-enforcement agencies, including the army.

Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal, parliamentary secretary for defence, presented the bill. The law has already been in force in the form of a presidential ordinance since February this year.

Nov 11: Pakistan won the election for membership of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) by securing 135 votes out of 186.

Nov 12: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Noor Hassan Bhargari won the by-election to the PS-67 constituency of Sindh Assembly.

Nov 12: The Supreme Court of Pakistan restored the old magistracy system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at KP government’s request.

Nov 12: Pakistan and Tajikistan, while agreeing on stronger cooperation in energy, defence and trade, vowed to improve regional connectivity to further deepen their bilateral ties.

The two countries inked several accords in diverse fields including a treaty on extradition, an agreement on energy cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on setting up a business council.

Nov 13: Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz announced that a ‘campaign for the implementation of Sharia in the country’ will be launched.

Nov 13: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon agreed to expedite implementation of the CASA-1000 power transmission line from Central to South Asia and bilateral infrastructure projects.

Nov 13: Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva, was elected as president of the Fifth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCS).
Nov 14: The front-line combat units of the naval fleet successfully test-fired anti-ship guided missiles in the north Arabian Sea, re-asserting the lethality, precision and efficacy of Pakistan Navy’s weapons systems.

Nov 14: World Diabetes Day was observed in the country.

Nov 14: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved six development projects worth Rs239 billion in energy, infrastructure and communications sectors.

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Oct 20: Pakistan ratified WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.

After ratification, Pakistan has become the 51st World Trade Organisation member, first from South Asia, to accede to the treaty.

Oct 22: The government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement of $178 million for building the Gojra-Shorkot section of national motorway M-4 which includes a grant of $90.77m to be provided by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Oct 26: The State Bank of Pakistan and FBR signed an MoU to streamline issuance of Form-E that will benefit the stakeholders and reduce the cost of doing business.

Oct 28: Pakistan slid two places to be ranked 138th on the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ of the World Bank. Pakistan improved its distance to frontier (DTF) score, from 51.62 to 51.69, but slid in the list of 189 economies of the world, ranked in terms of the ease it offers to entrepreneurs in doing business.

Oct 29: Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, who was on a two-day visit to Pakistan, renewed Iran’s proposal for a currency swap arrangement with Pakistan to promote trade.

Oct 29: The government approved issuing Rs120 billion worth of sovereign guarantees to local and international banks to meet financing requirements of five ‘signature power projects’ of almost 4,000MW capacity.

Nov 05: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cleared Pakistan’s economic bailout package for disbursement of next instalment of around $502 million by mid-December.

Nov 07: In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund included Pakistan in emerging market economies.

An emerging market economy is the one that is progressing toward a more advanced stage, usually by means of rapid growth and industrialization. These countries experience an expanding role both in the world economy and on the political frontier.

Nov 11: Moody’s Investors Service changed the outlook for the Pakistan banking system to stable from negative, reflecting the improvement in the country’s economic growth prospects.

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Oct 20: According to a new report by Asian Development Bank (ADB), in Pakistan, at least one out of five children, of primary school age, is out of school, but the country has improved its net enrolment ratio by 16 percentage points in recent years.


Oct 16: Pakistan and Russia signed a government-to-government agreement for laying a $2.5 billion pipeline to carry imported LNG from Karachi to Lahore.

Moscow would provide a loan of $2bn in return for the award of the contract to state-run Russian firm RT Global, an arm of Russia State Corporation.

Nov 04: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources revealed in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee that Pakistan had shale gas deposits of trillions of cubit feet, of which 95 trillion cubic feet could be extracted only in Sindh and southern Punjab.

Nov 06: The Federal Board of Revenue made submission of electronic e-form mandatory for exporters from November 11, 2015.

Nov 09: Pakistan finalised a 15-year $16 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with supplier Qatar with shipments expected to begin in December.

Nov 10: The Prime Minister of Pakistan performed the groundbreaking of the 1,223MW Balloki Power Plant. The project would be completed in 2017. Its cost stands at $469,000 per MW with an efficiency of 61.63 per cent.

Nov 12: The World Bank (WB) approved $500 million budgetary support to Pakistan for undertaking crucial energy sector reforms.

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Oct 17: Top seed Sara Mansoor outplayed third seed Sarah Mahboob to win the women’s singles final in the Samsung 30th Federal Cup Ranking Tennis Championships.

Oct 19: After the rightwing Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena raided the headquarters of the BCCI, the talks between the cricket body chiefs of India and Pakistan were called off.

Oct 25: Pakistan’s record-breaking batsman Younis Khan became seventh fastest player to accumulate 9,000 runs in Test cricket.

Nov 05: Pakistan beat England by a big 127-run margin in the third and final Test in Sharjah to win the series 2-0.

Nov 11: Seasoned Pakistan batsman Younis Khan announced his retirement from the ODI Cricket.


Oct 21: Yawar Saeed, former manager of Pakistan Cricket Team, passed away.

Oct 30: Noted religious scholar Maulana Dr Sher Ali Shah, who had been a teacher to some of the known leaders of Islamic parties and Taliban figures, passed away. He was 86.

Nov 01: Veteran Pakhtun nationalist and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Afzal Khan Lala passed away at the age of 90.

Nov 08: PML-N MPA from Pirmahal (PP-89) Makhdoom Pir Ali Raza Shah passed away. He was 69.


Oct 19: The government appointed Shahzad Akbar, currently working as resident engineer of the project, as project director of the controversial Nandipur Power Project.

Oct 22: The government appointed Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua as the new National Security Adviser (NSA), with the status of minister of state.

Oct 22: The government appointed eminent journalist Absar Alam as Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

Oct 28: Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Babar Yaqoob Fateh Malik was given an unprecedented extension for another three years.

Oct 29: The government appointed Abdul Ghaffar Khattak as CEO of the National Productivity Organisation (NPO).

Oct 30: Ahsan Mehboob was appointed as the Inspector General of Balochistan Police.

Nov 05: Justice Ijazul Hassan was appointed as Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Justice Hassan has replaced Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik who has been elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Nov 06: Former Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood took oath as judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Nov 09: Punjab government posted Dr Amjad Shahzad, Medical Superintendent Mayo Hospital, Lahore, as Director General Health Services, Punjab, in addition to his own duties with immediate effect.

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Ankara, Turkey

Oct 28: The 11th meeting of Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Military Dialogue Group (HLMDG) successfully concluded with the signing of a landmark agreement for transfer of 34 T-37 aircraft and spare parts to Pakistan on Gratis basis. T-37 is a jet trainer and light-attack aircraft.


Nov 05: A conference on ‘GSP+ in Pakistan: Opportunities and Challenges’, hosted by Democracy Reporting International (DRI), was held at Islamabad. Speaking at the occasion, European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Jean Francois Cautain said that the prerequisites for GSP+ include implementation of 27 international human rights conventions and the country must take a cautious approach in this regard.


Nov 07: The two-day ‘International Seminar on Business Opportunities in Punjab’ was held in Lahore wherein the Punjab government signed 158 memoranda of understanding and investment agreements with foreign companies.


Moneeza Hashmi

Oct 28: Moneeza Hashmi — a daughter of late poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, an acclaimed television producer and president of the Public Media Alliance — was awarded the prestigious Japan Prize 2015 (the President of the NHK prize) for tremendous achievements in educational media.

Bilquis Edhi

Nov 03: Bilquis Edhi, the wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi of Edhi Foundation, was selected for Mother Teresa Memorial International Award-2015 for sheltering Geeta, a differently-abled Indian girl who was stranded in Pakistan.

Nosheen Lone

Oct 19: Nosheen Lone, a Pakistan-origin professional and the owner of TekOne Technologies Ltd., was named as the winner of Science & Technology category in The Best Business Women Awards, a national competition for female entrepreneurs in UK.


Oct 16: According to the ‘Valuing Waste, Transforming Cities,’ a report published by the UN Economic and

Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), waste crisis is emerging in the Asia-Pacific region, stoked by escalating quantities of waste as well as poor regulation and management.

Oct 16: At a meeting in Kazakhstan, Russian President Putin and the leaders of ex-Soviet states agreed to create a joint task force to defend the region’s borders in the event of a crisis. The deal could pave the way for the deployment of Russian and other troops along unstable Tajikistan’s 1300-kilometre frontier with Afghanistan.

Oct 16: The high court in India-held Kashmir ruled that while acceding to the Dominion of India, Jammu and Kashmir did not merge with it but retained limited sovereignty. The limited sovereignty or special status stands guaranteed under Article 370.

Oct 16: UN experts said that the Islamic State (IS) group is paying supporters up to $10,000 for each person that they recruit to wage jihad in Syria and Iraq.

Oct 16: India’s top court struck down a law giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government a bigger say in the appointment of top judges, calling the new system harmful to judicial independence.

Oct 19: Sheikh Abdul Rashid, an independent lawmaker of India-held Kashmir, was attacked with black ink during a press conference in New Delhi by a group known as Hindu Sena.

Oct 19: Nato and its allies opened their largest military exercise in more than a decade, choosing the central Mediterranean to showcase strengths that face threats from Russia’s growing military presence from the Baltics to Syria.

Oct 19: India, the United States and Japan wrapped up six days of naval exercises, reflecting closer military ties that are seen as a counterweight to growing Chinese influence in the region.

Oct 20: Britain and China toasted a “golden age” of relations with a state visit festooned with regal pomp and pageantry. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip aims to cement deals giving Britain a vast new pool of investment and China greater access to European markets.

Oct 20: The United States and Russia signed an MoU that establishes measures so their pilots steer clear of each other as they conduct separate bombing campaigns in Syria.

Oct 21: Iran’s supreme leader endorsed a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers, but warned the government to be vigilant, saying the United States cannot be trusted.

World in Focus 5Oct 21: The UN’s cultural body, Unesco, approved a resolution from a group of Arab states criticising Israel for failing to protect heritage sites and rebuild regions destroyed by war.

Oct 23: Muslim prayers at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, the epicentre of weeks of unrest, ended peacefully after Israel lifted restrictions on worshippers in an apparent bid to ease tensions.

Oct 23: Russia and Jordan agreed to coordinate military operations in Syria.

Oct 25: Former British prime minister Tony Blair apologised for certain aspects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Oct 26: Geeta, a 23-year-old hearing and speech challenged Indian woman reached India.

Oct 27: US President Barack Obama won Indonesia’s endorsement for a contentious Trans Pacific trade deal, with the president of Southeast Asia’s largest economy vowing to join.

During a meeting with Obama at the White House, Joko Widodo pledged to join the pact.

Oct 27: Hundreds of British academics announced to boycott contact with Israeli universities over the state’s ‘intolerable human rights violations’ towards Palestinians through a full-page advertisement in the Guardian newspaper entitled ‘A commitment by UK scholars to the rights of Palestinians’.

Oct 27: The European Union signed a long-awaited accord with Kosovo that will lead to closer ties and could open the way to EU membership for the small Balkan country.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after years of tensions following the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and has made EU membership a key objective.

Oct 27: The United Nations member states overwhelmingly condemned the decades-long Cuban embargo in a mostly symbolic vote, marking the first vote since the US shift in policy towards Cuba.

Oct 27: The Asia Pacific region, the most disaster-prone part of the world, suffered 1,625 disasters in the decade through 2014, and needs to spend more on adapting to climate change and preparing for more extreme weather, the United Nations said.

The region’s disasters, 40 per cent of the global total, claimed half a million lives over the decade, affected 1.4 billion people and caused $523 billion in economic damage.

Oct 27: British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the Parliament that Britain will keep its current level of 450 troops on non-combat missions in Afghanistan through 2016.

Oct 28: The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau created a vast marine sanctuary the size of Spain, banning fishing across the bulk of its waters to preserve the ocean for future generations.

At 500,000 square kilometres, the new sanctuary is one of the largest in the world and covers an underwater wonderland containing 1,300 species of fish and 700 types of coral.

Oct 28: The UN General Assembly elected 18 countries to serve on the 47-member Human Rights Council for a period of three years from January 1.

Mongolia, UAE, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea and the Philippines won the five Asia-Pacific seats but Pakistan and Lao People’s Republic with 105 votes lost in their bid for the Council.

Oct 28: The US Senate passed cyber security legislation aimed at facilitating sharing of attack threats. The 74-21 vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, which earlier this year approved a similar bill.

Oct 29: Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar finally apologised to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding the cancellation of their meeting in Mumbai.

Oct 30: Israel retroactively legalised some 800 homes in four settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Oct 30: The US, Russia and more than a dozen other nations directed the UN to start a new diplomatic process between Syria’s government and opposition groups with the goal of reaching a nationwide ceasefire and political transition.

Oct 30: President Barack Obama authorised the first sustained deployment of “fewer than 50” special operations forces to Syria.

Oct 30: The Nobel Prize awarded in 1963 to Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, a Cambridge professor, for his revolutionary work on the central nervous system was sold at auction for nearly $800,000.

Oct 31: South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang discussed North Korea and trade ties as they met one-on-one in Seoul ahead of a trilateral summit with Japan. According to the presidential Blue House, the two leaders had a “frank” exchange of views on the North Korean nuclear issue and the reunification of the Korean peninsula.

Oct 31: A Russian charter plane carrying 224 people crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing everyone on board.

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) group’s affiliate in Egypt claimed it downed the plane.

Nov 01: Qatar officially opened “Labour City,” the country’s biggest workers’ accommodation camp, with enough space to house almost 70,000 labourers. It also contains two police stations and Qatar’s second largest mosque.

Nov 03: Barcelona-based writer and a scholar of both Arabic and Persian, Mathias Enard, won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, in a race dominated by books about West’s love-hate relationship with Islam and the Arab world.

Nov 04: The European Union’s Migration Commissioner welcomed the departure of first refugees from Greece under an EU relocation scheme aimed at easing the burden on countries bearing the brunt of Europe’s migrant crisis.

Nov 04: Both chambers of the US Congress made available $100 million for ‘stability activities’ undertaken in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Nov 04: Romania’s embattled Prime Minister Victor Ponta, mired in a corruption scandal, resigned.

Nov 05: Booker Prize winning novelist Arundhati Roy and at least 20 Bollywood award-winners also returned their national awards in protest against the government’s silence over the climate of religious intolerance and violence in India.

Nov 05: Indonesian authorities deported, Chhota Rajan, an alleged Indian crime boss who has been on Interpol’s most-wanted list for two decades, to India.

Nov 05: The US Department of Defence announced that it’s no longer conducting counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan because it views the group as an important partner in its efforts for restoring peace in the war-ravaged country.

Nov 06: For the third consecutive year, Russian President Vladimir Putin was named the world’s most powerful person by Forbes magazine.

Nov 08: India’s impoverished state Bihar gave a resounding verdict against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign to pit Hindus against Muslims over beef-eating.

The hefty score of 178 seats in the Bihar 243-member assembly for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s grand alliance demolished virtually all poll predictions.

Nov 08: Myanmar held its first free nationwide election in 25 years, the biggest step yet in the country’s journey from dictatorship to democracy.

Nov 09:  Kosovo failed in its bid to gain membership of the UN cultural body, Unesco, coming up three votes short of the two-thirds majority required.

Nov 09: Lawmakers in Catalonia officially kicked off a process to secede from Spain by 2017 despite impassioned pleas against independence.

Nov 12: As protesters chanted slogans against him, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned trade deals worth $13.7 billion with his British counterpart David Cameron in London.

Nov 13: Lebanon mourned 44 people killed in a Hezbollah bastion in south Beirut in a twin bombing claimed by the self-styled Islamic State, the bloodiest such attack in years.

Nov 14: In the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II, a wave of coordinated attacks left more than 128 dead in scenes of carnage in Paris The self-styled Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The French President, Francois Hollande, described the assault claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group as “an act of war” against France and promised a “merciless” response.

Nov 15: The 2015 G20 Leaders’ Summit, the tenth meeting of the G-20 heads of government, started in Antalya, Turkey. At the Summit, US President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin of Russia held a meeting for 20 minutes, breaking the ice for the first time since Moscow launched air bombardments in Syria.

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Oct 16: Chinese and Indonesian state-owned companies signed a $5.5 billion deal to build the first high-speed railway in Southeast Asia’s top economy. The line will connect the Indonesian capital Jakarta with the mountain-fringed city of Bandung.

Oct 18: The United States and Europe began preparing to lift the trade sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy as a historic nuclear deal came into effect.

The procedure to lift the embargo began 90 days after the UN Security Council endorsed the accord signed in Vienna in July, a milestone referred to as “Adoption Day”.

Oct 19: China’s economy decelerated in the latest quarter but stronger spending by consumers who are emerging as an important pillar of growth helped to avert a deeper downturn.

The world’s second-largest economy grew by 6.9 per cent in the three months ended in September, the slowest since early 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, data showed. That was down from the previous quarter’s 7pc.

Oct 21: Chinese President Xi Jinping sealed a multi-billion dollar deal to finance nuclear power stations in Britain, crowning a visit that Prime Minister David Cameron hopes will unleash a wave of investment from the world’s second largest economy.

Oct 25: Japan and Uzbekistan signed deals worth more than $8.5 billion covering energy, communications, transport and other sectors, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said after meeting visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Nov 11: Afghanistan agreed terms to join the World Trade Organisation with the trade body’s existing 161 members.

Nov 11: Bangladesh signed a $250 million deal with French-Italian firm Thales Alenia Space in Dhaka to build the country’s first communications satellite.


Oct 16: The Obama administration appointed Richard G. Olson, the outgoing US ambassador to Pakistan as the new US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He succeeded Dan Feldman who concluded his tenure on Sept 18.

Oct 20: Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau got a stunning majority election victory, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with a promise of change and returning a touch of glamour, youth and charisma to Ottawa. Harper conceded defeat and the Conservative party announced his resignation.

Oct 26: Jimmy Morales, a political neophyte best known for playing dim-witted characters on his television comedy show, won Guatemala’s presidential election.

Oct 28: Nepalese lawmakers elected Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a long-time women’s rights campaigner, to become the country’s first female president.

Oct 28: President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast easily won re-election in the first vote since a disputed election five years ago led to violence that killed thousands in the West African economic powerhouse.

Oct 29: Tanzania’s ruling party candidate, John Magufuli, was declared winner of a presidential election.

Oct 29: US lawmakers elected Paul Ryan, a conservative Republican who helped steer budget and tax policy in Congress, as speaker of the House of Representatives.

Nov 01: Turkey’s long-dominant Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a stunning electoral comeback, regaining its parliamentary majority in a poll seen as crucial for the future of the country.


Oct 18: Novak Djokovic beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to claim his third Shanghai Masters title.

Oct 25: Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and captain A.B. de Villiers all hit centuries as South Africa thrashed India by 214 runs to clinch the five-match One-day International series.

The Proteas batted first at a sweltering Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and made an awesome 438-4, the fourth-highest ODI total on record and the highest ever scored in India.

Oct 26: Defending champion Lewis Hamilton secured his third world title when he raced to victory in a roller-coaster, stop-start, wet-and-dry United States Grand Prix.

Oct 25: Afghanistan made history when they became the first Associate nation to defeat a Test-playing country in a One-day International series with a comprehensive 73-run win over Zimbabwe.

Oct 30: Simone Biles made her way into the history books by winning a record third consecutive all-around women’s gold at the world gymnastics championship.

Oct 31: New Zealand beat Australia to become rugby world champions for a record third time and become the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.

Nov 01: Agnieszka Radwanska claimed her maiden WTA Finals title with a victory over Czech Petra Kvitova.

Nov 01: Roger Federer mastered long-time rival Rafael Nadal in their first meeting in almost two years to win his seventh title at the Swiss Indoors.

Nov 01: North Korea’s Ri Se Gwang won his second straight men’s vault title at the World Gymnastics Championships on the final day of competition.

Nov 03: Michelle Payne made history as she became the first female jockey to win Australia’s 154-year-old Melbourne Cup. She rode 100-loutsider Prince of Penzance to a shock win.

Nov 15: Australian paceman Mitchell Starc joined an exclusive club with a sizzling delivery, what is believed to be the fastest delivery in Test cricket history, with the ball clocked at 160.4 kilometres per hour (99.7 mph).


Oct 16: Ken Taylor, Canada’s ambassador to Iran who sheltered Americans at his residence during the 1979 hostage crisis, died. He was 81.

Oct 22: Gamal al-Ghitani, a former carpet designer who switched careers to become one of Egypt’s most acclaimed novelists, died in Cairo. He was 70.

Nov 04: Tom Graveney, the former England captain, died at the age of 88.

Nov 07: Yitzhak Navon, who served as Israel’s fifth president, died. He was 94.

Nov 08: Abdul Karim al-Eryani, a Yemeni former prime minister and diplomat who helped bring about a peaceful change of Yemen’s government during the Arab Spring of 2011, died. He was 81.

Nov 10: Helmut Schmidt, the Chancellor who guided West Germany through economic turbulence and Cold War tensions, stood firm against a wave of home-grown terrorism and became a respected elder statesman, died. He was 96.


Sarah Taylor

Oct 17: England’s international player Sarah Taylor made history by becoming the first woman to play men’s grade cricket in Australia.

Navid Kermani

Oct 18: A German-Iranian author Navid Kermani won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade Association was awarded

Ahmed Mohamed

Oct 20: Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager who was detained when his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, visited the White House, after receiving a very public invite from President Obama.

Salma Zahid and Iqra Khalid

Oct 20: Two Pakistani women Salma Zahid and Iqra Khalid, representing the Liberal party, won seats in the Canadian elections 2015.

Raif Badawi

Oct 29: Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for blasphemy, was awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Human Rights Prize.

Mazich Afkham

Nov 09: Iran appointed its first woman ambassador since the 1979 Islamic revolution, naming foreign ministry spokeswoman Mazich Afkham to head its embassy in Malaysia.


Beijing, China

Oct 16-18: The 3-day Xiangshan, or Fragrant Hills, conference was held in Beijing and was attended by defence officials and experts from across the Asia-Pacific region.

Seoul, South Korea

Nov 01: The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met at Seoul at their first joint meeting in over three years and pledged to work towards greater economic integration.


Nov 07: The presidents of China Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart, Ma Ying-jeou, reached across decades of Cold War-era estrangement and rivalry to exchange a historic handshake and warm words in the first summit since the two sides’ traumatic 1949 split.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Nov 10: Arab and South American leaders began a summit in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, aiming to strengthen ties between the geographically distant but economically powerful regions.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon also attended the opening of the Fourth Summit of South American-Arab Countries, chaired by the Saudi King.

Valletta, Malta

Nov 11: European and African leaders gathered for the Malta Summit to hold talks on joint action on the migration crisis, as Slovenia became the latest EU member to act on its own by barricading its border.

The Summit, a rare gathering of around 50 leaders from the two continents, is the newest prong in the European Union’s quest for a joint strategy to deal with the biggest flow of refugees and migrants since World War II.

Geneva, Switzerland

Nov 11: At the World Radiocommunciation Conference (WRC), hosted by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), at Geneva, more than 160 nations struck a landmark deal on using satellites to track flights, which could prove key to preventing a repeat of the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 in March 2014.

Antalya, Turkey

Nov 15: The 2015 G20 Leaders’ Summit, the tenth meeting of the G-20 heads of government, started in Antalya, Turkey.

5 Possible Consequences of Paris Attacks

The Paris attacks were unprecedented in their scale in France and shocking in their method. The repercussions are likely to be wide and long-lasting. Here are five areas to watch:

Syrian Peace Talks

Peace talks to end the Syrian civil war had drifted along for years before a snowballing refugee crisis in Europe this summer and Russia’s dramatic entry into the conflict in September gave them new urgency. Given growing evidence of a Syrian link, the attacks in Paris will hike pressure on world leaders to overcome their deep divisions and solve a problem that is a key source of Islamic extremism.

Western Military Involvement in Syria

Some of the Paris attackers were overheard telling hostages the attacks were in retaliation for France’s bombing of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Paris’s air strikes were also referenced by the group in a statement claiming responsibility.

In step with increased diplomatic activity, the attacks appear likely to stiffen Western resolve to continue battlefield pressure against Islamic State — with the risk of being sucked further into the conflict.

European Refugee Crisis

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since the World War II as hundreds of thousands flee conflicts or oppression in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan to seek safety overseas.

Already facing anti-immigration sentiment, the attacks could further complicate efforts by European governments to persuade their populations to accept this burden.

Fears have been regularly stoked by reports that IS operatives could be hiding among the 800,000 migrants who have arrived this year, mostly on the shores of Greece and Italy.

Security Measures in Europe

Already accustomed to seeing heavily armed security forces guarding schools and synagogues since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, residents of the French capital will now face an even more muscular presence.

An extra 1,500 soldiers were mobilised to reinforce police in Paris, while European governments held emergency talks to review their security arrangements.

‘Borderless’ Europe

Removing national barriers is a key part of the EU project, with Europeans allowed to travel without passports or visas in the 22-nation Schengen zone.

The refugee crisis had already strained this system to breaking point, with a host of countries including Germany and Sweden re-imposing border controls while Austria, Hungary and others are building border fences.

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