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April 2018 International Affairs

  • World Bank group approves massive USD 13 billion increase in paid-in capital 
    In a major development, the World Bank Group has endorsed an ambitious package of measures that include a 13 billion US Dollars increase in paid-in capital. 

    The decision came along with a series of internal reforms, and a set of policy measures that greatly strengthen the global poverty fighting institution's ability to scale up resources and deliver on its mission in areas of the world that need the most assistance. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim hailed the decision as historic. 

    The package approved by the Development Committee of the Board of Governors consists of 7.5 billion dollars paid-in capital for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and 5.5 billion dollars paid-in capital for International Finance Commission (IFC). 

    The package also includes a 52.6 billion dollars callable capital increase for the IBRD. The boost in capital will be augmented by a broad range of internal measures, including operational changes and effectiveness reforms, loan pricing measures, and other policy steps to create an even stronger World Bank Group. 

  • President Ram Nath Kovind promulgates Criminal Law (amendment) ordinance, 2018 to amend Protection of Children from Sexual Offences
    President ram Nath Kovind promulgated The Criminal Law amendment ordinance, 2018 to amend Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to pave way for death penalty to those found guilty of raping children upto the age of 12 years. 

    Earlier, the Cabinet on 21st April approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to amend Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 to introduce the death penalty for rape of children younger than 12 years. 

    The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment. Several political leaders cutting across party lines hailed Centre's move. 

    The President also promulgated the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018. 

    The Ordinance, approved by the cabinet 21st April, would lay down the measures to empower Indian authorities to attach and confiscate proceeds of crime associated with economic offenders along with their properties. Thereby deter such offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. 

    The Ordinance is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences. This would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery in case of frauds. 

    If at any point in the course of the proceeding prior to the declaration, however, the alleged Fugitive Economic Offender returns to India and submits to the appropriate jurisdictional Court, proceedings under the proposed Act would cease by law. 

  • Canada, European Union will host the world's first female foreign ministers meeting in September, 2018
    Canada and the European Union will host the world's first female foreign ministers' meeting in September. The announcement was made by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on 22nd April in Toronto. She said the meeting will be held for 2 days starting on September 21st in Canada. 

    The Canadian government has said female foreign ministers from about 30 countries will be invited to the gathering, which is aimed at deepening global discussion on women's empowerment. 

  • France’s National Assembly passes controversial immigration law
    France's National Assembly has passed a controversial immigration law that has exposed unprecedented divisions in President Emmanuel Macron's young centrist party. After 61 hours of debate, the measure was approved on 22nd April in a vote of 228 in favour, 139 against and 24 abstentions. It passed largely with the support of Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party. 

    But one LREM deputy, Jean-Michel Clement, rebelled and announced that he is quitting the president's party after casting a no vote on the proposed law. Opposition to the measure was found across the political spectrum with lawmakers of both the right-wing and leftist parties voting against it, as well as the far-right National Front. 

    The Lower-House of the French parliament was supposed to vote on the bill Friday, but the fractious debate stretched into the weekend due to more than 1,000 amendments proposed by deputies. 

  • Donald Trump administration plans to end work permits for H-1B visa spouses
    The Donald Trump administration is planning to propose to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US, a top federal agency official has told lawmakers, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians. 

    The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits. H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration. 

    Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision. More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule. 

    A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status -- a process that can take a decade or longer. 

    The Donald Trump administration is planning to terminate this provision. A formal communication is expected to be made later this summer, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna said in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley. 

  • EU, UN to co-host conference in Brussels on Syria aid
    The EU and the UN will co-chair a two-day international conference starting on 24th April in Brussels aiming to pump financial aid for Syrians and garner political support for UN-led intra-Syrian talks. 

    The conference will bring together participants from more than 85 countries and organisations at the ministerial level, as well as those from over 200 non-governmental organisations, the EU Council said. It is the second conference of its kind since 2017. 

  • US, France called for a 'new nuclear deal' with Iran
    US and France have called for a new nuclear deal with Iran. US President Donald Trump, who is sceptical of a nuclear accord that was struck between the world powers and Iran in 2015, discussed the issue with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Washington Mr Donald Trump spoke about doing a much bigger deal, adding that any new agreement must be built on solid foundations. Mr Emmanuel Macron said, a new pact must cover Iran's ballistic missile programme and its role in the Middle East. 

    The US President has been threatening to reject an extension of the Obama-era nuclear pact. Iran has warned of severe consequences if the US withdrew from the deal. The 2015 deal provides for curbs to Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for relief from financial sanctions. 

  • Leaders of North, South Korea commit to denuclearization in historic summit
    The leaders of North and South Korea agreed on 27th April to pursue a permanent peace and the complete denuclearisation of the divided peninsula, as they embraced after a historic summit laden with symbolism. 

    In a day of bonhomie including a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two countries, the two leaders issued a declaration on the common goal of realising a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. 

    The two leaders also agreed to end hostile activities between the two nations, change the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that divides the country into a "peace zone" by ceasing propaganda broadcasts. 

    The two sides also agreed on arms reduction in the region pending the easing of military tension, to push for three-way talks involving the US and China, organising a reunion of families left divided by the war, and connecting and modernising railways and roads across the border. 

    They also agreed to joint participation in sporting events, including this year's Asian Games and to hold regular meetings and direct telephone conversations. 

  • International Buddhist Conference being organised to commemorate 2562nd Buddha Jayanti in Lumbini
    In Nepal an International Buddhist Conference to commemorate 2562nd Buddha Jayanti has started in Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal Rabindra Adhikari inaugurated the two-day conference on 28th April

    The basic objective of the conference is to disseminate teachings of Buddha and spread the messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to the international community. 

    According to Lumbini Development Trust, representatives from 16 countries including United States of America, Japan, India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka attending the conference. Buddhist scholars from various countries will present their papers for discussions during the conference

    The conference will also help to propagate and enhance the importance and the glory of Lumbini in the international arena. A Lumbini Declaration will also be issued at the conclusion of conference. 

  • Thousands of people fled from fighting between Myanmar's army and ethnic insurgents: United Nations
    United Nations has said thousands of people have fled renewed fighting between Myanmar's army and ethnic insurgents in the country's remote north. 

    The Head of UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mark Cutts, said more than 4,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar's northernmost state of Kachin near the border with China in the last three weeks. 

    He said there are still many civilians who remain trapped in conflict-affected areas and biggest concern is for the safety of pregnant women, the elderly, small children and people with disabilities. 

    According to reports, About 15,000 people who have fled since the beginning of the year and upwards of 90,000 residing in the internally displaced persons(IDP) camps in both Kachin and Shan states since a ceasefire between the government and the powerful Kachin Independence Army broke down in 2011. 

    Earlier about 7 lakhs people fled to Bangladesh when the army has stepped up its campaign in remote areas of Myanmar amid the Rohingya crisis. The US and the UN have called the military crackdown ethnic cleansing, while Myanmar denies the claims and says it was defending itself against Rohingya insurgents. 

  • UNSC delegation arrived in Bangladesh to visit Rohingya refugee camps
    A UN Security Council delegation has arrived in Bangladesh to visit Rohingya refugee camps and discuss the crisis with local officials. 

    The visit comes amid the delayed repatriation of some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar to escape military-led violence. 

    Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary, M. Khurshed Alam, said the visit is very significant as international pressure on Myanmar continues to mount to ensure the safe and voluntary return of the refugees, who are seeking protection from the United Nations. Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in December to begin repatriating the refugees in January, but the process has been delayed. 

  • UN Security Council has rejected Russia-sponsored resolution to condemn the air strikes by the US, Britain and France on Syria
    UN Security Council has rejected Russia-sponsored resolution to condemn the air strikes by the United States, Britain and France on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack. The Russia-drafted resolution won three votes at the Security Council, far below the nine votes required for adoption. China and Bolivia supported the Russian measure, while the three allies along with Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Kuwait and Ivory Coast opposed it. Peru, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea abstained from vote. 

    The Russian measure would have condemned the aggression against Syria and demanded that the three allies refrain from any further strike. The vote was held after the United States warned that it was locked and loaded, ready to launch more military strikes on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad's forces carry out a new chemical weapons attack. 

    The United States, Britain and France launched air strikes on Syria on 14th April in response to a suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people. 

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May opened the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in London
    British Prime Minister Theresa May opened the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in London on 16th April, marking the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) with a message of using the organisation to challenge the forces of protectionism and promote greater trade. 

    India is among 52 other member-countries participating in the summit hosted by the UK in London around the theme of "Towards a Common Future".

    The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is participating in the CBF with what it describes as a momentous delegation of nearly 40 business leaders across different sectors of the country, led by CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman of Bharti Enterprises. 

    The Indian business leaders aim to highlight opportunities for intra-Commonwealth collaboration across technology, skills, agriculture and infrastructure verticals as part of the largest Indian delegation of CEOs and young Indian business leaders to any Commonwealth Summit in recent times. 

    The UK, which is the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth for two years, also unveiled a range of new initiatives and networks to mark the launch of CHOGM. 

    The UK will also fund a new Trade Facilitation Programme, supporting and providing technical assistance to selected Commonwealth countries in implementing the World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement. 

  • Maldives must let ex-president contest election: UN
    UN Human Rights committees on 16th April ruled that Maldives must restore ex-President Mohamed Nasheed’s right to stand for the office of President which was promptly rejected by the government. 

    The committee in a finding said that the judicial proceedings in which Mr. Mohamed Nasheed was convicted were based on vague legislation, contained serious flaws and violated his right to a fair trial. 

    The committee also found that the resulting restrictions on Mr. Mohamed Nasheed’s right to stand for office violated his rights to political participation under article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 

    Maldives foreign ministry rejected the UNHRC ruling and refuted that any of the rights of Mr. Mohamed Nasheed have been violated. 

    It said that it is for the Supreme Court to decide on the eligibility of Mr. Mohamed Nasheed for Presidential elections and not for UNHRC. 

    Mr Mohamed Nasheed in his reaction urged Maldives government to reconsider its response to the ruling and to open and enter into sincere dialogue with the opposition with the view to holding inclusive, free and fair Presidential elections. 

    Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, first brought to a Maldivian court in 2012, was ultimately charged with terrorism and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment in March 2015. 

    Presently under exile, he was disqualified from running in presidential elections for 16 years. Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in September this year where current President Abdullah Yameen will be seeking re-election. 

    Mr. Yameen administration has jailed or exiled most of his political opponents in last few years on several charges. A Supreme Court ruling on February 1st to release the nine political prisoners and hold retrial led to the imposition of emergency in the country. 

  • France announces 50 million euro humanitarian aid for Syria
    France will contribute 61.9 million dollars toward urgent humanitarian aid for Syria. French President Emmanuel Macron said at a meeting with a group of non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Paris. 

    The funds will be allocated to NGOs and U.N. agencies working on the ground in Syria, including the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs. According to United Nations estimates, some 13 million people including six million children are in need of humanitarian aid in Syria, ravaged by a seven-year war that has displaced millions. 

  • United Nations in security talks with Syria after chemical probe put on hold
    The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) has said, it is trying to make arrangements for the fact-finding experts of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to travel to Douma in Syria at the earliest. 

    It said they were negotiating with Syrian and Russian authorities for international chemical inspectors to deploy to the site of an alleged toxic gas attack near Damascus after a reconnaissance mission came under fire. OPCW said, safety fears had hampered plans for the experts to travel to Douma, where dozens were killed in the suspected gas attack earlier this month. 

    It said, the UN security team came under fire and there was an explosion after it entered one of the sites. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is in Qatar for a meeting with his counterpart, said that the Syrian government is responsible for delays in inspectors reaching sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack. 

  • Direct phone link between South Korea and North Korea started 
    A direct phone link between the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will start operating from on 20th April. Stating this South Korea's presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-keyom has said that the line was connected on 20th April, and that working-level officials will conduct a trial call. He said, the date of the first talks between the two leaders is not yet fixed. Both the leaders earlier agreed to hold their first conversation on the hotline before their landmark summit on 27th of this month. 

  • Commonwealth countries have unanimously agreed to take action on cyber security by 2020
    The Commonwealth countries have unanimously agreed to take action on cyber security by 2020. In a landmark declaration at the end of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, the leaders of 53 countries agreed to work closely to evaluate and strengthen their cyber security frameworks and response mechanisms. 

    A release issued termed the declaration as the world's largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation. 

    It followed an announcement by the UK government pledging up to 15 million pounds to help the Commonwealth nations strengthen their cyber security capabilities. It also aims to tackle criminal groups and hostile state actors who pose a global threat to security. 

    The leaders also expressed their strong support for the multilateral trading system and adopted a six-point connectivity agenda to boost trade and investment links across the Commonwealth. 

    They also agreed on a bold, coordinated push to protect oceans from the effects of climate change, pollution and over-fishing. 

  • North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site: Donald Trump
    US President, Donald Trump on 21st April said North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. He said in a tweet that it is very good news for North Korea and the World. Stating that the decision as a big progress, President said he is looking forward to the US-Korea the Summit. 

    Earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country has suspended nuclear and missile tests from on 21st April and will also shut down a nuclear test site. North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Kim made the announcement at a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers' Party central committee in Pyongyang on 20th April

    He also said the mission at the nuclear test site in Punggye-Ri in North Hamgyong Province has ended. North Korea said it will cooperate and hold dialogues with neighbouring countries and the international community to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the world. 

    The surprise announcement comes as Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week for the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade, and US President Donald Trump by June. 

  • China taking Pakistan Economic Corridor all the way to Afghanistan
    The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of China's Belt and Road Initiative, is being extended to Afghanistan, a report said on 8th April. The $50 billion corridor that connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan, spanning 3,000 kilometres, is one of the pain points in ties between India and China. 

    China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative, has not only improved local infrastructure but also is extending toward Afghanistan, reducing poverty, the hotbed of terrorism, and bringing better prospects for local people's lives," China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying. 

    The report was prepared by the non-profit Boao Forum for Asia, which has been holding its annual conference in Boao city in China's Hainan Province since 2002, after it was formed by China in 2001 on the lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

    On its website, the non-profit claims that it has become a high-end platform for dialogue among state heads, businesspeople and scholars. This year's meeting started on April 8 and will end on April 11. 

    The Belt and Road Initiative has injected "fresh vitality" to Asia's economic cooperation and helped the continent to reshape its international relations, the report said. 

    India has right from the start protested against China's CPEC push as the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. 

    India's ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale, in a March interview with the Hong Kong-based daily Post, had said that if the CPEC meets the norms of an international programme, then New Delhi has no problem. 

    The latest report by the China-headquartered non-profit reinforces what Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his meeting with his Pakistani and Afghani counterparts on extending the CPEC to Afghanistan. 

  • Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari inaugurates International Conference on Human Rights in South Asia
    President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that sharing of experiences in the area of human rights protection and promotion in South Asia is extremely important for quality of life and livelihood in the region. 

    Inaugurating an International Conference on Human Rights in South Asia in Kathmandu on 9th April, President Bhandari said that understanding of human rights should not be confined to speeches and writings but it should also be part of our daily lives. 

    She said that human rights, democracy and rule of law are interdependent and protection of human rights can only be achieved through internalizing democratic values. The conference is organized by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal. 

    The representatives of Human Rights Commissions and institutions, human rights activists from 20 countries including India are participating in 3 day event. 

    The theme of conference is "Identifying Challenges, Assessing Progress, and Moving Forward: Addressing Impunity and Realizing Human Rights in South Asia".

    The delegates will discuss various issues including different types of discrimination in South Asia including rights of marginalized groups, collective rights and violence against women. 

  • UNSC rejects Russian resolution on investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria
    UN Security Council has rejected a Russian-drafted resolution on investigating chemical weapons use in Syria after Moscow vetoed a competing US-proposed measure. Six countries including China and Russia backed the measure, while seven nations voted against. 

    Two countries abstained from the voting. A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member Council and no Veto from the five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. 

  • Sri Lanka's health sector best in Asia: World Health Organisation 
    Sri Lanka's health service is one of the best not only in Asia but in the world, the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) said on 11th April. 

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who visited the country to celebrate the World Health Day on April 7, said the reason Sri Lanka had such a high-quality health service was due to its free availability and the country's political leadership gave a clear guidance to the health service

    Sri Lanka, which was earlier ranked as a low-income country, had now emerged as a middle-income nation and under this situation, the island's health sector was excellent, Tedros said. 

  • New Zealand halts all new offshore oil, gas exploration 
    New Zealand has halted all new offshore oil and gas exploration as part of its efforts to deal with climate change. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 12th April said, the government has taken an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for the country. The oil and gas industry in New Zealand generates about 1.8 billion US dollar a year and employs about 11 thousand people. Environmental groups welcomed the move with Greenpeace describing it as a landmark moment in the transition to a clean-energy economy. 

  • Pakistan Supreme Court bars former PM Nawaz Sharif from holding office for life
    Pakistan's Supreme Court has disqualified deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for life from holding any public office. In a landmark judgement on 13th April a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ruled that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life and such a person cannot contest elections or become a member of parliament. Following the verdict, both former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader, Jahangir Tareen have become ineligible to ever hold public office. Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif in July last year in the Panama Papers case. 

    Earlier, in February, the bench had reserved the judgement on 17 appeals and petitions challenging the length of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) for possessing fake degrees. 

  • China announces new tariffs on US meat and fruit amid trade war fears
    China has said, it is rolling out new tariffs on US meat, fruit and other products as retaliation against taxes approved by US President Donald Trump on imported steel and aluminum. 

    The Chinese Finance Ministry said in a statement that the new tariffs come into effect from 1st April. 

    The announcement follows warnings Chinese officials have made for several weeks in an escalating trade dispute with the United States. 

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in US terminated
    US President Donald Trump has declared as "dead" a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and pressed Congress to immediately pass legislation to secure the US border with Mexico. 

    Donald Trump, who has taken a hard line toward immigration, said in September he would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, but gave the Republican-controlled Congress until March 6 to replace it. 

    Congress failed to meet that deadline, but courts have ruled the program can remain in place for now. 

    Legislation was being prepared aimed at helping expedite some deportations of immigrants in the country illegally. 

    They did not provide a timetable for submitting it to Congress and did not say whether provisions to help DACA recipients would be included. 

    The United States is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

  • US adds Hafiz Saeed's political front Milli Muslim League to terrorist list
    In a big blow to the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the US has designated the Milli Muslim League, the political front of Pakistan-based Mumbai attack mastermind-led Jamaat-ud Dawa, as a foreign terrorist organisation. The MML is an alias of Lashkar-e-Taiba also. 

    The US also added Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK) to the list of terrorist groups. Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir is said to be a front of the LeT, which according to the Trump administration, continues to operate, without any restrictions in Pakistan. 

    The State Department said the move was aimed at denying the LeT resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks. 

    The move comes a day after the Election Commission of Pakistan asked the MML to produce a clearance certificate by the interior ministry for its registration as a political party. General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan in July. 

    The JuD was designated by the Department of State as an alias of the LeT pursuant April 2016 and was added to the United Nations Sanctions list as an alias of the LeT in December 2008. 

    The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. It was declared as an FTO by the US in June 2014. 

  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) identified 139 Pakistani terrorist individuals and entities in global list
    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has identified 139 Pakistani terrorist individuals and entities who have lived in Pakistan, operated from there or have been associated with groups that used Pakistani territory for carrying out their operations. 

    In its consolidated list updated on 3rd April, UNSC named Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its chief Hafiz Saeed, Osama bin Laden’s heir apparent and Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, Harkatul Mujahideen, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and others. 

    Hafiz Saeed is also listed as a person wanted by Interpol for his involvement in terrorist activities. 

    The list also includes Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian national who, according to the UN Security Council, has held several Pakistani passports issued in Rawalpindi and Karachi. The UN claims that he owns a palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad, Karachi. 

  • United States proposes $50 billion tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products
    The United States on 4th April announced a proposed list of products imported from China that could be subject to additional tariffs of 25 per cent amounting to USD 50 billion. 

    The US Trade Representative (USTR) said the proposed list of products is based on extensive interagency economic analysis and would target products that benefit from China's industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the US economy. 

    Sectors subject to the proposed tariffs include industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery. 

    The list covers approximately 1,300 separate tariff lines and will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a hearing. After completion of this process, the USTR will issue a final determination on the products subject to the additional duties. 

    The total value of imports subject to the tariff increase is commensurate with an economic analysis of the harm caused by China's unreasonable technology transfer policies to the US economy, the USTR said. 

    China had said on 3rd April that its door for talks with the Donald Trump administration is open but if there is a trade war it will "fight till the end". The comments came a day after Beijing imposed tariffs on 128 American products as retaliation against US duties on steel and aluminium. 

    China had imposed tariffs on 128 US imports worth USD 3 billion, including meat, fruit and pork, as retaliation against taxes approved by US President Donald Trump on imported steel and aluminium. 

    Last month, Donald Trump announced that the US will impose tariffs on approximately USD 50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China's policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises. 

    These policies bolster China's stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans, such as "Made in China 2025".

    Trump raked up the issue of trade gap with China once again, saying the US cannot afford to have a USD 500 billion a year trade deficit with Beijing. 

    However several industry groups were quick to oppose Trump's proposal to impose tariff on some 1300 selected Chinese products. 

  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meet in Azerbaijan
    India once again raised the issue of menace of terror and underlined the importance of tackling the scourge at the international stage. 

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while addressing the 18th mid-term ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijan's capital Baku said terrorism is one of the foremost threats to international peace and security as it maims and kills innocent citizens. She said that terrorism severely undermines the ability of nations to attain development goals. She rued the fact the words have not been matched by action as far as efforts to combat terrorism go. 

    External Affairs Minister said that while the global community is engaged in serious discussion on the need to tackle environmental imbalance and protecting the environment, India has gone ahead and forged International Solar Alliance with France. Already more than 60 countries have joined alliance to promote greater use of solar energy. 

    India decided to increase its contribution to the UNRWA budget from USD 1 million to USD 5 million. The global challenges including nuclear escalation, armed conflicts, refugee flows, terrorism, poverty and worsening environmental degradation require more effective joint efforts. 

    Genuine global partnerships have to be forged if the SDGs are to be achieved. Financing for Development is, therefore, of utmost importance to NAM countries. 

    The Minister said, NAM has been a votary of universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament and of pursuit of that goal through multilateralism and that India remains committed to the shared goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons. 

    External Affairs Minister also signed two documents with Azerbaijan, on visa waiver for diplomatic, official and service passports holders and cooperation between diplomatic training institutes. A day earlier she met the foreign minister of Venezeula and discussed important bilateral relations. 

  • US imposes sanctions on Putin's oligarch allies
    United States on 6th April imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, and several entities accused of supporting and profiting from the Russian government's efforts to undermine western democracies. 

    The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials. 

    The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboron Export, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions. 

    CNN said, the fresh sanctions are the latest step by the US against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the US 2016 election and a cyber attack. 

  • Facebook says up to 2.7 million EU users affected by data leak
    The European Union says that Facebook has told it that up to 2.7 million people in the 28-nation bloc may have been victim of improper data sharing involving political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica. 

    The EU and Facebook will be looking at what changes the social media giant needs to make to better protect users and how the US company must adapt to new EU data protection rules.
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