WORLD IN FOCUS October- November 2011


Gilani renews talks offer to ‘angry Baloch leaders’: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani renewed his offer of dialogue to ‘angry’ Baloch leaders and said he was even ready to go to their doorstep to listen to their grievances.

6,000 Baloch recruits join Pakistan Army: The Pakistan Army inducted, after training, 6000 Baloch recruits in a passing out ceremony.

Zero tolerance for injustices in Balochistan: The prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has promised ‘zero tolerance’ for injustice against the people of Balochistan, and also offered to go door-to-door to address the complaints of those who were frustrated by ‘a sense of deprivation’ in the strife-ridden province.

Pakistan faces threat of water scarcity: The United Nations has placed Pakistan among the ‘water hotspots’ of Asia-Pacific region, saying that the country is facing major threats of increasing water scarcity, high water utilisation, deteriorating water quality and climate change risk.
Changes in weather patterns across the world have increased occurrences and intensities of extreme events of rain, floods, droughts and cyclones, such as those afflicting Australia, China, Myanmar and Pakistan, according to the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011 published by the UN`s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Mangla Dam raising project completed: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani attended a ceremony here on Thursday to mark the completion of the Rs100 billion Mangla Dam raising project aimed at significantly increasing country`s water storage and electricity generation capacities.

After the project`s completion, Mangla Dam will store 2.88 million acres feet (MAF) of additional water and generate 644Gwh more hydel power, with an estimated annual benefit of Rs18 billion.

Pakistan, Guatemala establish diplomatic ties: Pakistan and Guatemala, a Latin American country, established diplomatic relations, with the signing of a joint communique by envoys of the two countries. Pakistan UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon and his Guatemalan held at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.

Fasih Bokhari takes over as NAB chief: Former chief of Pakistan Navy, Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari, was formally notified as chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) despite objections raised by the opposition PML-N that the legal process required by the Constitution had not been followed in his nomination for the post.

Pakistani vessel freed from Somali pirates: A Pakistani vessel that had been taken over by a group of Somali pirates earlier this week was rescued by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) near the coast of Somalia.

Foundation stone laid for Diamer-Bhasha Dam: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam on the Indus would produce 4,500MW of electricity and store over 8 million acre feet of water and help meet the country’s future power and agricultural requirements.

Regular troops deployed at Afghan border: Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas said that regular Army and FC troops have been sent to border areas with Afghanistan to stop militant attacks.

Asif hands over NUML to army chief, legally: The National Assembly passed the National University of Modern Languages (Amendment) Bill, 2011 replacing the name of president of Pakistan with chief of army staff as chairman board of governors of NUML.

New ruler of Chitral enthroned: Shahzada Fatehul Mulk Ali Nasir was enthroned as the new mehtar (ruler) of Chitral during a special ceremony in the royal fort.

Pakistan wins Security Council seat: Pakistan was elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for two years (2012-2013).

It secured 129 votes in the 193-member General Assembly and will replace Lebanon currently holding the Asian seat.

Pakistan has been a member of the 15-member Council on six occasions since the early ’50s’ 1952-53, 1968-69, 1976-77, 1983-84, 1993-94 and 2003-04.

Karzai says he’ll back Pakistan in conflict with US: Afghanistan would support Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview to a Pakistani TV Channel broadcast.

Omar for Pakistan’s role to resolve Kashmir issue: Asking the government to have an ‘active engagement’ with Pakistan, Indian-held Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said without this a permanent and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue is unlikely to emerge.

Indian helicopter forced to land: Pakistan forced an Indian army helicopter to land for having violated its airspace, but later allowed the four officers on board and the helicopter to return after interrogating the officers for a couple of hours, military sources said.
Nishan-i-Imtiaz, Mother of Democracy: The government conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz and the ‘Mother of Democracy’ title on Begum Nusrat Bhutto posthumously in recognition of her services for the cause of democracy.

Hillary warns Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Pakistan will suffer ‘dire consequences’ if it fails to ‘contain’ terrorists operating from its soil, and it needs the US and Afghanistan to help get the job done.

AJK HC Chief Justice shot at, injured: The Chief Justice of the Azad Kashmir High Court, Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, was rushed to hospital with a gunshot injury after being shot walking in Muzaffarabad, police said.

IMF sees lower growth, higher budget deficit: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has painted a bleak picture for the country’s economy, saying that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth is likely to stay at 3.8 per cent, lower than the targeted 4.2 per cent, while the budgetary deficit is estimated at 5.3 per cent of the GDP higher than 4 per cent target set for the current fiscal year.

According to Regional Economic Outlook (REO) Report launched by the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves will face depletion of around $2 billion in the current fiscal year.

SC orders probe into Rental Power Project deal: The Supreme Court has constituted a one-man commission to investigate high-level corruption and government negligence ‘ Rental Power Projects (RPPs), and directed it to submit a report within four weeks.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chau-dhry nominated Justice (retd) Rehmat Hussain Jaffri as head of the commission during a hearing of the suo-motu case.

Pakistan could become world’s fourth most populous country: With the world’s population reaching seven billion on October 31, UN officials have stated that, by 2050, Pakistan is going to be the fourth most populous country in the world.

Resident Coordinator of United Nations Pakistan Timo Pakkala said that although Pakistan was among the first countries in Asia that initiated a family planning programme, it has experienced a high population growth rate ‘32.5 million to 177 million during 1947 to 2011.

Qatar admits it had boots on ground in Libya: Qatar revealed for the first time that hundreds of its soldiers had joined Libyan rebel forces on the ground as they battled troops of veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi.

‘We were among them and the number of Qataris on the ground was hundreds in every region’ said Qatari chief of staff Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Atiya.

Accord reached on Pak-Turkeman gas price: Pakistan and Turkmen-istan reached an accord for delivery of 1.3 billion cubic feet a day of Turkmen gas at 69 per cent of crude oil parity price under the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) pipeline project.

Winter capital notification issued: The Balochistan government issued a notification making the port city of Gwadar the winter capital of the province, formalising an announcement made by Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.According to the notification, Gwadar would be the winter capital from October 21 to March 3.

N-capable Hatf VII missile test-fired: Pakistan successfully tested nuclear-capable Hatf VII (Babur) cruise missile from a newly developed missile launch vehicle.

Pakistani wins Oscar of Science and Technology world: Pakistani Athar Osama, who dreams of reviving the Golden Age of Islamic Science, has won an award at an event considered to be the Oscars of Science and Technology at the UN Building, New York.

Osama has won the World Technology Network (WTN) award for Science and Innovation Media and Journalism from a breathtakingly talented group of people which included USAID Science Adviser Alex Dehgan.

‘Resign or face public wrath’: The Pakistan Muslim League-N threw down the gauntlet to President Asif Zardari: tender resignation or face the lynch mob. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took acerbity and fiery rhetoric to its limits in his denunciation of the president, winning thunderous ovation from a charged crowd.

PM speaks of nation’s resilience at summit: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called upon the Commonwealth to seek inspiration from the ‘resilience’ of the Pakistani nation for fighting challenges in a rapidly changing world.

Addressing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, he said: ‘Building a resilient Commonwealth is necessary if we are to get to grips with numerous challenges we are facing as individual states, as well as collectively, on the global plane.’

Pakistan, Australia sign partnership MoU for development: Pakistan and Australia have resolved through a landmark memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join hands for a sustained and continued partnership to boost political ties and enhance development in all spheres.

Yasin Azad elected SCBA president: Yasin Azad was elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for 2011-12 after defeating Rashid A. Razvi of the Hamid Khan-led professional group by 93 votes.

CJ orders PR chief to send corruption cases to NAB: A Supreme Court hearing on the state of affairs in Pakistan Railways exposed an amazing tale of ineptness where one of the largest state entities was turned into a cesspool of corruption in a systematic and deliberate manner.

Gilani gives go-ahead for electricity import from India: With the cost of 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) having increased several times owing mainly to inordinate delays, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani gave a go-ahead for importing electricity from India and decided to take up the matter with his Indian counterpart this month.

Currency swap accord with Turkey signed: Pakistan and Turkish central banks signed a bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement (CSA) at a ceremony held in Istanbul in the presence of President Asif Ali Zardari and Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The tenor of the agreement would be for three years.

FC placed under Balochistan govt’s control: In a major policy shift, the federal cabinet decided to place the Frontier Corps under administrative control of the provincial government in Balochistan.

Pakistan recognises new Libya rulers: Pakistan accorded formal recognition to the new government of Libya.

Foreign Office spokesperson Teh-mina Janjua told at the weekly briefing, “We recognise State and Government of Libya.” Wishing the people of Libya a prosperous future, she said Pakistan and Libya had maintained longstanding ties, which would be further promoted in future.

Pakistan re-elected to UNESCO Board: Pakistan has been re-elected as a member of the Unesco Executive Board with a clean slate. Pakistan secured 156 votes out of 186 votes.

AFP launches Urdu service: Agence France-Presse (AFP) teamed up with Pakistan’s largest private news agency to launch the first international Urdu-language news service. The partnership between AFP and the Online International News Network will provide an average of 50 news, feature, sport and business stories per day from AFP’s global output to Urdu clients in India, Pakistan and elsewhere.

EU concessions halt on BD objections: Pakistan was taken aback as news trickled in that Bangladesh had raised objections in the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting regarding the European Union (EU) decision last year to grant Pakistan beneficial import conditions which would help Pakistan overcome the devastation from floods.

Russia endorses Pak bid for SCO membership: Russia, for the first time, publicly endorsed Pakistan’s bid to get full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made this announcement in response to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s address at 10th Heads of Government meeting of SCO, at the Constantine Palace.

US body gives HR Award to Asma Jahangir: United Nations Association of USA (UNA-USA) Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force awarded Dr Asma Jahangir with 2011 Leo Nevas Human Rights Award.

No going back on MFN, India told: Pakistan would not backtrack on its decision regarding granting the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said.

‘Let me categorically say that I don’t see a lot of room for confusion’ the Press Trust of India quoted her as saying, rejecting speculation on the November 2 decision to grant the status to India.

PMs pledge ‘new chapter’ in ties: The prime ministers of Pakistan and India pledged to write a ‘new chapter’ in their otherwise fragile relationship on the margins of the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Maldives.


Indian Ocean nations test tsunami warning system: Nations along the Indian Ocean tested a United Nations-backed early tsunami warning system put in place after the massive 2004 wave off western Indonesia that left more than 230,000 people dead or missing.

The exercise ‘the first full-scale test of the system’ measured communication and emergency response. Evacuation drills were held in India and Malaysia, with bulletins sent by telephone, e-mail, text messaging and fax to more than 20 countries taking part.

Clinton says US open to discussing peace deal with Haqqanis: Two powerful US officials ‘secretaries of state and defence’ have acknowledged Pakistan’s pivotal role in a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, and one of them even stressed the need to reach out to the Haqqani network.

Biden warns Iran of ‘serious consequences’: US Vice President Joe Biden warned Iran that it would have to face ‘serious consequences’ for allegedly plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. US President Barack Obama called the plot a ‘flagrant violation’ of US and international law but allowed his deputies to do most of the talking.

Also the US imposed sanctions on an Iranian commercial airline Mahan Air ‘for allegedly ‘ferrying operatives, weapons and funds’ on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is also known as the Quds force.

Bhutanese king weds commoner: Bhutan’s ‘Dragon King’ married a young commoner Jebun Perna in an ancient Himalayan monastic fortress, sipping a chalice of ambrosia symbolising eternal life in a Buddhist wedding that has transfixed a reclusive kingdom slowly embracing globalisation.

Germany, Mongolia seek to develop commodity trade: Germany and Mongolia signed a deal aimed at developing exports of coal, copper and other commodities, as the vast Asian country opens its huge reserves to foreign investors.

Berlusconi wins confidence vote: Premier Silvio Berlusconi kept his job after a crucial confidence vote in Parliament, but financial analysts and critics were sceptical that would resolve Italy’s increasingly severe economic troubles.

Berlusconi’s conservatives won in a 316-301 vote in Parliament’s lower house, barely above an absolute majority in the 630-seat house.

Uzbekistan bans naming streets after people: Uzbekistan has banned naming towns, villages, streets and parks after historically ‘insignificant’ people under a new law signed by President Islam Karimov, state-run media said.

Obama to send 100 troops to Uganda: US President Barack Obama said he is sending 100 combat troops to central Africa to help and advise forces battling Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels accused of rape, murder and kidnapping.

Man gets new hands in rare transplant: A 65-year-old quadruple amputee has received two new hands in a rare double transplant operation, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said.

A team of more than 40 doctors, nurses and other medical staff attached the hands to Richard Mangino during a 12-hour transplant procedure last week.

Titanium treasure found on Moon: A new map of the Moon has revealed an abundance of titanium ore that is up to 10 times richer than on Earth, a finding that could one day lead to a lunar mining colony, astronomers.

The discovery was made by a camera aboard the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which swept the surface of the Moon, scrutinising it in seven different light wavelengths.

India deploys BrahMos missiles against Pakistan, China: The Indian government has given a go-ahead to deployment of BrahMos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh. This will be India’s first offensive tactical missile deployment against China.

Israeli soldier, Palestinians freed in captive swap: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in opposite directions as a thousand-for-one prisoner exchange brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict.

World’s first malaria vaccine works in major trial: An experimental vaccine from Glaxo SmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world’s first shot against the deadly disease.

Madagascar’s PM resigns in plan to end 2-year political crisis: Madagascar’s prime minister Brig. Gen. Albert Camille Vital, appointed after a coup two years ago, has resigned along with his government to open the way for a new leader to head a transitional government that is intended to end the Indian Ocean island’s two-year political crisis.

US army to fly ‘kamikaze’ drones: A miniature ‘kamikaze’ drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army’s arsenal, officials say.

Burundi most corrupt in E. Africa again: Burundi is East Africa’s most corrupt for the second year in a row, with the region’s police, revenue authorities and the judiciary rated as the worst offenders, a Transparency International (TI) survey showed.

Call for probe into death of Gaddafi: The United Nations and human rights groups called for a full investigation into the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and voiced concerns that he may have been executed, a war crime under international law. Several countries, including the United States and Russia, also raised questions over the manner in which the strongman was killed.

North Korea, US clinch deal on war remains: The United States and North Korea have reached an agreement on resuming recovery of the remains of American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Massive quake rocks Turkey: A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, killing at least 85 people and sparking widespread panic as it collapsed dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete.

New leader declares Libya’s liberation: Libya’s transitional leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil declared his country’s liberation after an 8-month civil war and set out plans for the future with an Islamist tone.

$1.6 trillion laundered worldwide in 2009: Some $1.6 trillion is estimated to have been laundered by criminals in 2009, but only one per cent of the sum has been seized and frozen, according to a UN report released.

‘Criminals, especially drug traffickers, may have laundered around $1.6 trillion, or 2.7 per cent of global GDP in 2009’ the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Turkmenistan president elevated to ‘hero’ of nation: President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov received the title of ‘hero’ of Turkmenistan, five years after the death of his predecessor ended one of the world’s most notorious personality cults.

Nayef named crown prince: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef as his new heir, according to a royal court statement read out on state television.

Clinton wants Mulla Omar in peace talks: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a congressional panel that any Afghan-led peace process would have to include the Quetta Shura and its leader Mulla Omar.

Her statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs also emphasised several other key points reflecting a major change in US approach towards seeking a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict. ‘There is no solution in the region without Pakistan and no stable future in the region without a partnership.’

Deadliest attack kills 13 US troops in Kabul: A suicide car bomber killed 13 American troops in Kabul in the deadliest single ground attack against the Nato-led force in 10 years of war in Afghanistan.

Higgins elected Irish president: Michael D. Higgins, a former culture minister and part-time poet from Ireland’s junior coalition party, was named president after comfortably beating a reality TV star and an ex-IRA commander to the mainly ceremonial role.

Palestinians admitted to Unesco as full member: Palestinians won a crucial vote to enter Unesco as a full member, scoring a symbolic victory in their battle for statehood and full membership in the UN General Assembly. The resolution that was adopted to loud applause by 107 countries, with 14 voting against and 52 abstaining.

Saif becomes Nawab of Pataudi: Top Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan was made the new Nawab (Muslim prince) of Pataudi in a private ceremony at his ancestral home in northern India.

Khan became the 10th nawab of the former princely state after the death in September of his 70-year-old father, Mansur Ali Khan, from a rare form of lung disease.

Cheers, fears as world population hits 7bn: The world welcomed its symbolic ‘seven billionth’ baby, but celebrations were tempered by worries over the strain that humanity`s population explosion is putting on a fragile planet.

The Philippines was the first country to declare a seven billionth baby, a little girl named Danica May Camacho.

The United Nations named a Bosnian child, Adnan Mevic, as the Earth’s six billionth inhabitant on October 12, 1999, when then secretary-general Kofi Annan was pictured in a Sarajevo hospital with the child in his arms. 4 nations agree to cooperate on policing Mekong River: Officials from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand agreed to cooperate on law enforcement on the Mekong River, where 13 Chinese sailors were killed last month.

 US stops Unesco funding: The United States said it is stopping financial contributions to Unesco after the Palestinians were admitted to the organisation as a full member.

 Human blood protein from rice: Scientists at a Chinese university said they can use rice to make albumin, a protein found in human blood that is often used for treating burns, traumatic shock and liver disease.

 Libya elects new govt head, Nato lifts air cover: Libya’s interim rulers elected academic Abdel Rahim al-Kib to head a transitional government as Nato was set to end an air campaign that played a major role in ousting dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

 Kib, a native of Tripoli, was elected prime minister in a public vote carried out by the members of the National Transitional Council, a correspondent reported.

 Regional solution to Afghan issue sought: The trilateral summit of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey concluded in Istanbul on a positive note with the three countries signing agreements and memoranda of understanding for cooperation in different areas and expressing willingness to join hands to build a combined partnership to ensure peace and security in the region.

 The conference, hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul, was attended by President Asif Ali Zardari and President Hamid Karzai along with the military chiefs and foreign and interior ministers.

 Iran creates special agency for handling cyber attacks: Iran, which is at loggerheads with Western countries over its nuclear programme, has created a special agency to defend the country against cyber attacks, said Gholam-Reza Jalali, head of the civil defence organisation.

 73 kgs of uranium ore stolen in Romania: Officials say 73 kilograms of radioactive uranium ore have been stolen from a mining company in western Romania.

 Uranium is the basic fuel for nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation, but the ore needs to go through several extremely complicated processes before being sufficiently enriched for use.

 Governing party of Bulgaria wins presidential election: Rosen Plevneliev, the governing party candidate, was declared the winner of Bulgarian presidential election, in an outcome that now gives his party control over all major governments posts and will bolster its push for painful economic changes.

 Mr Plevneliev won the contest with 52.56 per cent of the vote, and his Socialist challenger, Ivailo Kalfin, took 47.44 per cent, the Central Election Commission in its final tally. The turnout was 48 per cent.

 Disgraced intelligence agency is dismantled by president: President Juan Manuel Santos has dissolved Colombia’s scandal-plagued domestic intelligence agency, DAS, saying its employees will be transferred to other state offices. He had already announced that the agency would be replaced by a new entity.

 Biology teacher wins France’s top literary prize: High-school biology teacher Alexis Jenni won France’s top literary award, the Goncourt Prize, for his first novel, ‘L’art francais de la guerre’ (The French Art of War).

 British court rules for extradition of Assange: WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, whose activities have angered the US government, should be sent to Sweden from Britain to face questioning over alleged sex crimes, the High Court ruled, rejecting his appeal against extradition.

 Norway leads world in human development: Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead the world in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI), while the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Burundi are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings of national achievement in health, education and income.

 Yemeni president has accepted UN plan: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has moved a step closer to handing power to his deputy by accepting a UN formula to ease a transition, the EU envoy to Yemen was quoted by the state news agency Saba as saying.

 Russia to build N-power plant in Bangladesh: Bangladesh and Russia signed a deal to build a nuclear power plant in the energy-starved South Asian nation.

China completes first space docking test: China successfully carried out its first docking exercise between two unmanned spacecraft, a key test of the rising power’s plans to secure a long-term manned foothold in space.

Netanyahu orders halt to Unesco funding: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a halt to Israel’s financial contributions to Unesco after the UN cultural organisation granted the Palestinians full membership.

International tribunal to look at alleged war crimes in Libya: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo said his office would ‘impartially and independently’ examine allegations of crimes committed by Nato and opposition forces, as well as by troops loyal to the late Col. Muammad el-Qaddafi, during the fighting in Libya this year.

Obama tops Forbes most powerful list, Gen Kayani at 34: Barack Obama topped Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful people in 2011, as the US president’s clout rose after the deaths of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Obama bumped Chinese President Hu Jintao from the No. 1 spot on the magazine’s annual rankings. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running again for president, was No. 2 and Hu came third as he gradually manages the transition of power to others in China.

Cuba legalises sale, purchase of private property: Cuba announced it will allow real estate to be bought and sold for the first time since the early days of the revolution, the most important reform yet in a series of free market changes under President Raul Castro.

G20 powers agree to put Italy under ‘watch’: The leaders of the world’s top economic powers forced Europe to take measures to stop Italy following Greece into the abyss of debt and agreed to boost the IMF’s war chest.

Brother of Saudi king named as new minister of defence: King Abdullah appointed his brother Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz minister of defence and aviation. Prince Salman replaces Crown Prince Sultan, who died October 22.

US hands over massive base to Iraq: US forces have handed Joint Base Balad, which was once one of the world’s busiest airports and housed some 36,000 personnel, over to Iraqi control, a US military spokesman said.

Deal signed to pave way for Russia’s WTO entry: Georgia and Russia signed a deal removing the final obstacle in Moscow’s 18-year bid for membership of the World Trade Organisation, Georgian envoy Zurab Chiaberashvili said.

Russian probe fails to find right course for Mars: An unmanned Russian spacecraft on a mission to a Mars moon failed to find the right course to the red planet, a potentially devastating blow to Moscow’s hopes of resuming planetary exploration.

The Phobos-Grunt probe blasted off successfully from the Baikonur cosmodrome but did not manage to leave its Earth orbit as planned several hours later to go on its planned trajectory for Mars, the Russian space agency said.

4-wheeled molecule is a billionth of metre small: Scientists in the Netherlands said they had made a four-wheeled molecule that measures just a billionth of a metre ‘60,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair’ and moves in response to a burst of electrons.

The nanometre-sized molecule comprises a central body to which four rotary units, each comprising a few atoms, are attached.

Greek PM steps down, paves way for new leader: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou formally stepped down as hopes rose for the formation of a new unity government amid mounting international pressure and fears of bankruptcy.

Indian Army inducts new regiment of BrahMos: The Indian Army in ducted a new regiment of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is geared to be a precision strike weapon with a 300-km strike range.

Unesco suspends projects after US funding cut: United Nations cultural agency Unesco has been forced to suspend all its spending programmes until the end of the year after the United States withdrew its funding, its director Irina Bokova general said.

Nauru president resigns amid graft allegations: The president of the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru Marcus Stephen resigned amid corruption allegations, claims he called ‘unwarranted and mischievous’.

Greece picks Papademos to save country: Greece’s rival political parties agreed on former central banker Lucas Papademos as the next prime minister, giving him the daunting task of ending the chaos that has helped bring the euro to its knees.

Sirleaf re-elected Liberian president: Liberia’s Nobel Peace Prize winning president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was confirmed as victor of a run-off poll boycotted by the opposition, with only 37.4 per cent voter turnout.


ICC ends mandatory use of Decision Review System: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has ended the mandatory use of the Decision Review System (DRS) and instead will leave it up to participating nations to decide if they wish to use the technology.

China retain men’s team title at World Gymnastics: Olympic gold medallists China won a fifth straight men`s title at the world gymnastics championships, denying Japan`s bid to return to the top after 33 years.

Dawson dethrones Hopkins in bizarre finish: Chad Dawson took the WBC light heavy, weight title from Bernard Hopkins with a controversial technical knockout, ending Hopkins` reign as boxing’s oldest world champion.

Aisam, Bopanna clinch ATP title: Pakistan’s Aisamul Haq and India’s Rohan Bopanna clinched the title of ATP Championship in Stockholm. In the final Pak-India pair Aisam and Bopanna beat Brazilian pair of Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo 6-1, 6-3 to annex the prestigious crown.

Shahzad seals title with stunning fightback: Imran Shahzad lived up to his reputation as Pakistan’s number one cueist as he defeated Muhammad Asif Toba 8-7 in the thrilling final of the third Jubilee General Insurance Ranking Snooker Championship.

Razzaq, Sohail help Pakistan win Hong Kong Sixes: Blistering half centuries by Abdul Razzaq and Sohail Tanvir guided Pakistan to a 35-run victory over England to be crowned champions for the fifth time at the Hong Kong Sixes.

SL cricket board asks military to take over venues: Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped cricket board has asked the military to take over and maintain multi-million dollar Test venues that were set up for this year’s World Cup, an official said.

Security forces will manage three stadiums from the start of this month as the governing body of the sport could no longer afford their upkeep, Sri Lanka Cricket’s media manager Brian Thomas said.

Pakistan defeat Australia to win tri-nation crown: Pakistan defeated Australia 4-3 in the final to win the tri-series hockey tournament in Perth, Australia.

London court fixes corrupt cricketers, agent: Cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were jailed for their roles in last year`s spot-fixing scandal which the judge said had damaged the integrity of a game renowned for its fairness.

Ivanovic bags C’wealth Bank title: Ana Ivanovic celebrated her 24th birthday with a comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory over Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues in the final of the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions.

Clinical David wins record sixth World Open title: Malaysian squash superstar Nicol David won a record sixth women’s World Open title with a straight games victory over England’s Jenny Duncalf. David prevailed 11-2, 11-5, 11-0 in slightly less than half an hour in which the Amsterdam-based Malaysian’s speed was outstanding and which was arguably her best performance in a world final.


Mansha Yaad, a prominent short story writer, playwright and critic, died. He was 74.
He was awarded the Pride of Performance in 2004 in recognition of his invaluable contribution to literature. He also received a PTV award for his drama serial Rahain in 1988 and Waris Shah literary award of the Pakistan Academy of Letters for his collection of Punjabi short stories, Wagda Pani.
Veteran journalist, writer and secretary-general of the Progressive Writers Association Hameed Akhtar passed away in Lahore. He was 87.
The last ruler of Chitral state, Saiful Mulk Nasir, died. He was 61.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto, who suffered the longest torment among Pakistani politicians but put up an epic fight against military dictatorship, died in Dubai. She was 82.
A legendary Pakistan Movement worker, Begum Nasim Altaf Pervaz, died at the age of 90 in Islamabad.
She hoisted Pakistan’s flag over the Lahore Secretariat, replacing the British flag, the Union Jack, during the early days of Pakistan Movement.

Gaddafi captured and killed: Libyan ruler Muammar Qadhafi was killed in a final assault by new regime forces on his hometown.
‘We announce to the world that Qadhafi has died in the custody of the revolution’ National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman Abdel Hafez Ghoga said in Benghazi.
S. Arabia’s crown prince dies: Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz has died, the palace announced, leaving his brother Prince Nayef the likely successor to ailing King Abdullah.
Last mountain priest dies in Sikkim: An ancient ritual worshipping Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, has ended with the death of the last Lepcha priest in Sikkim, reports said.

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