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August 2017 International Affairs

  • International Solar Alliance to be a recognised multilateral agency of UN by December
    The International Solar Alliance is likely to be a recognised multilateral agency of the UN by this year-end. According to the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Coal, Power, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal before the end of this calendar, Indian Government wants to ensure that the International Solar Alliance as a multilateral agency ratified by the first 15 countries who would then be founding members. ISA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francoise Hollande in November 2015. It aims to channel $300 billion in 10 years to promote renewable energy projects under a global mega fund for clean energy. 

    The ISA was instituted to connect nearly 121 solar-resource-rich nations for research, low-cost financing and rapid deployment of clean energy. 

  • BRICS Governance Seminar Highlights another Golden Era
    The BRICS Seminar on Governance opened in southeast China on 17 August, during which over 160 representatives from BRICS members – -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — as well as other developing nations brainstormed ideas on how to usher BRICS cooperation into another “golden decade”. 

    The two-day Seminar, themed with “Openness, Inclusiveness, Mutual Benefits and Win-Win: Working Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind”, served as an important supporting event of the ninth BRICS Summit to be held early next month. 

    The academics, consultants and business leaders, during the meeting held in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, contributed their wisdom on how to enrich the outcomes of the upcoming summit. 

    The meeting also passed a “Quanzhou consensus” that encourages the signatories to prioritize development, launch mutually beneficial cooperation, engage in global governance in an active manner and learn more from other civilizations. 

    The representatives agreed that an intensified exchange of state governance experience will endow the BRICS members with a better prospect. 

    The great vision mapped out by Chinese President Xi Jinping on global governance could make unique contribution to the win-win cooperation of the entire world, Robert Lawrance Kuhn, chairman of the US-based Kuhn Foundation, said when commenting on China’s new governance ideas. 

  • Trump signs memo banning transgender recruits from US military
    US President Donald Trump has signed a memo ordering the Pentagon to ban an Obama-era plan of recruiting transgender individuals in the military, a move Democrats said is cruel and meant to hurt and humiliate American soldiers. 

    In a memorandum, a copy of which was released by the White House, Mr Trump directed the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the US Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding practice on military service by trans gender individuals that was in place prior to June last year. 

    In the memorandum, Mr Trump alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama dismantled the Defense Departments' established framework by permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, authorising the use of its resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures, and permitting accession of such individuals after July 1, this year. 

    The memorandum has requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, which should be put in place on March 23, 2018. 

  • Trump seeks India’s help to achieve Afghanistan ‘goals
    US President Donald Trump has said that he wants to further develop strategic partnership with India to achieve country’s goals in Afghanistan, saying American troops “will fight to win” and “from now on victory will have a clear definition.” 

    Trump on 22nd August detailed several of the US’s goals in Afghanistan, including “obliterating IS”, “preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan” and strengthen Afghan security forces. He noted that “the stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do.” 

    The US President also vowed to change the country’s approach to dealing with Pakistan, promising to crack down on Pakistan’s harbouring of terrorist and militant groups. 

    Trump promised that Pakistan has “much to gain” from partnering with the US, but also warned “it has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists.” Trump also said the US would pressure India to increase its support for Afghan economic development. Trump’s plan involves a modest increase of several thousand troops. 

    According to Pentagon, additional troops, above current levels of about 8,500, would serve very specific purposes, including boosting training, capacity-building and allowing advisers to work more closely with Afghan soldiers along the front lines. 

    The increase was effectively approved in June, when Trump gave Defense Secretary James Mattis the go-ahead to boost levels by as many as 3,900 troops. 

    US commanders would bring in additional advisers to support Afghan special forces, the Afghan air force and the Afghan army and police professional schools, such as the infantry and artillery schools. 

  • Qatar restores diplomatic ties to Iran
    Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, disregarding the demands of Arab nations that it lessen its ties to Tehran. 

    Qatar's Foreign Ministry announced early on 24th August that the country's ambassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled out its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom. 

    A Foreign Ministry statement said the state of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields. 

  • Trump signs memo banning transgender recruits from US military
    US President Donald Trump has signed a memo ordering the Pentagon to ban an Obama-era plan of recruiting transgender individuals in the military, a move Democrats said is cruel and meant to hurt and humiliate American soldiers. 

    In a memorandum, a copy of which was released by the White House, Mr Trump directed the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the US Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding practice on military service by trans gender individuals that was in place prior to June last year. 

    In the memorandum, Mr Trump alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama dismantled the Defense Departments' established framework by permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, authorising the use of its resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures, and permitting accession of such individuals after July 1, this year. 

    The memorandum has requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, which should be put in place on March 23, 2018. 

  • Nepal, China sign three pacts to boost their ties
    Nepal and China on 15th August signed three pacts to further boost their ties in power and energy sectors. The pacts were signed to undertake a feasibility study to excavate natural gas and petroleum in the Himalayan country, including in the southern Terai plains. 

    Both the countries signed the deals after visiting Chinese vice premier Wang Yang held discussions with Nepal's deputy prime ministers Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Krishna Bahadur Mahara. 

    According to Nepal's foreign ministry, the agreements signed on 15th August cover economic and technological cooperation, oil and gas resources exploration, and promotion of investment. 

    China's vice premier Yang arrived in Kathmandu from Pakistan after attending the country's Independence Day celebrations as a special guest. 

  • Harvard ranked first in Chinese ranking of best universities
    US universities retained their dominance in an annual Chinese ranking of the world’s top academic institutions, with Harvard staying number one for the 15th straight year. In a top 10, little changed from last year, Stanford held on to the second spot in the “Academic Ranking of World Universities” compiled by the independent Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, which has ranked the top 500 institutions each year since 2003. 

    A statement accompanying this year’s results said the rankings were based on a range of indicators including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, and papers published in the journals “Nature” and “Science”. 

    The University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology each moved up a slot to take third and fourth as the University of California at Berkeley dropped two rungs to fifth position. Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago rounded out the top 10. 

    China’s prestigious Tsinghua University was one of the biggest upward movers, climbing 10 spots to number 48, entering the top 50 for the first time. 

    The highest-ranked Asian institution remained Tokyo University at 24th, though it was down four spots as other schools moved up, such as Washington University of St. Louis, which moved to 20th, its highest showing yet. 

    The ranking is consistently largely static at its top levels. The list has generated controversy in the past for what critics say is stressing science over the humanities. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich remained the highest-ranked entry from continental Europe, holding on to 19th place, while the University of Copenhagen in Denmark moved up one slot to 30th. 

  • US designates Hizbul Mujahideen a foreign terrorist organisation 
    The US on 16th August designated Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a "foreign terrorist organisation", nearly two months after declaring the group's Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist. The designation, which slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit, came against the backdrop of upsurge in the terror activities of the militant group in Kashmir in recent months. 

    Among other consequences, all of Hizbul Mujahideen's property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group. The US decision marks a severe blow to Pakistan which has been projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people. 

  • Melbourne named as World's Most Liveable City
    According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report 2017, Melbourne (in Australia) world’s most liveable city for a record seventh year in a row. Melbourne scored an overall rating of 97.5 out of 100 on the liveability index. It is the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that a city has held the No 1 rank in its own right for seven consecutive years. 

  • US lawmakers express concern over human rights violations in Pakistan
    In the United States, seven lawmakers have expressed concern over human rights violations in Pakistan's Sindh province and urged the State Department to place it on priority during interactions with the country. 

    Expressing concerns about it the Congressmen led by Brad Sherman, Chair of the Congressional Sindh Caucus wrote a letter to the Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells and US ambassador to Pakistan David Hale. The lawmakers urged them to place a priority on human rights and democracy in its interactions with the government of Pakistan. 

    The lawmakers also urged them to work with the government of Pakistan to seek the release of persons held on false charges in Sindh. Congressmen also urged to protect religious freedoms of the Sindhi people, to end the forced conversions of minority Sindhi girls and women. 

    Noting that the people of Sindh face religious extremist attacks, the Congressmen said, reports suggest that every year, over 1,000 girls and young women in Pakistan, including many in Sindh, are forcibly converted upon marriage. They said Pakistani government has not done enough to stop this practice, and reform measures are circumvented or not enforced. 

  • World Health Organisation declared Somalia as polio free
    The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) declared no record of any case of polio disease in Somalia in the last three years declaring the country polio free. Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the remaining countries where polio is still being recorded. Somalia is still responding to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea/cholera which began in January 2017. 

  • Doklam standoff: Japan throws weight behind India, Bhutan
    Two months into the Doklam border standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers, Japan has conveyed its unequivocal support to India and Bhutan through diplomatic channels — a first by a major country, which is China’s neighbor. This comes a month ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India from September 13 to 15. 

    Hiramatsu, who is also concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Bhutan, met Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay in early August and conveyed Japan’s support to him and the top functionaries of the government. 

    Japanese diplomats, who have been in touch with Indian officials since late June, have been briefed by Indian and Bhutanese government functionaries on the situation in Doklam, and its complexities. 

  • Disputed Venezuela assembly takes parliament's powers
    Venezuela's controversial new constituent assembly has overwhelmingly voted in favour of assuming the powers of the opposition-led parliament. The move has been rejected by parliament, which said Venezuelans and the international community would not recognise the new powers. 

    President Nicolas Maduro said the new assembly will end the deadly political unrest in the country. But many have called it a slide towards dictatorship. The head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro called the move an "illegitimate dissolution" of the elected parliament. 

    Meanwhile the heads of the parliament and the new assembly have been trading insults on social media. Parliament head Julio Borges accused the new assembly of a "coup" while new assembly head Delcy Rodriguez - a close ally of Mr Maduro - denounced his "lies". Mr Maduro's wife and son are among the 545 members of the new assembly, which was set up following a controversial election earlier this month. 

  • UN chief calls for intensified global effort on nuclear disarmament
    With the presence of some 15,000 nuclear weapons on Earth, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all States to intensify their efforts in the shared pursuit of a nuclear-weapons-free world. In a message delivered on his behalf by High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu at an annual memorial held in Hiroshima, Japan, for the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on August 6, 1945 in the city. 

    The states possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps in nuclear disarmament," Guterres stressed, warning against the continued presence of some 15,000 nuclear weapons and dangerous rhetoric regarding their use. 

    He said that the world looks to Hiroshima, as the city built on "resilience and hope," which has come back from the tragic event 72 years ago, adding that the city's determination for peace is an inspiration to the world. 

    On a positive note, Guterres highlighted a major development in 2017, in particular the adoption last month of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons by UN Member States. 

    This outcome was the result of a global campaign focused on the unconditional unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons, the Secretary-General noted, acknowledging the invaluable contribution made by Hiroshima's message of peace and the heroic efforts of hibakushas or survivors of the atomic bombs. 

    They have reminded the world of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, he said, expressing UN support for a global effort towards a world free of nuclear weapons. 

    The United States had dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively during the final stage of World War II. 

    The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.’ 

  • ASEAN, China adopt framework for crafting code on South China Sea
    Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted on 6th August a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power. 

    The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars. 

    All parties say the framework is only an outline for how the code will be established but critics say the failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable, or have a dispute resolution mechanism, raises doubts about how effective the pact will be. 

    Signing China up to a legally binding and enforceable code for the strategic waterway has long been a goal for claimant members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), some of which have sparred for years over what they see as China's disregard for their sovereign rights and its blocking of fishermen and energy exploration efforts. 

  • Widespread and systematic use of excessive force in Venezuela: UN 
    The UN on 8th August slammed Venezuela for what it called its widespread and systematic use of excessive force against demonstrators. The UN rights office said this in a statement, presenting preliminary findings from an investigation conducted in June and July. It said security forces were responsible for deaths of at least 46 protesters. 

  • Indonesia, Russia to strengthen cooperation to fight terrorism
    Indonesia and Russia pledged on 11th August to strengthen cooperation in cyber-security and counter-terrorism as concern grows about the spread of radicalism in Southeast Asia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is on a two-day visit to Indonesia, said the two countries would work together more closely to counter the spread of Islamic State (IS) ideology. 

    The terrorists seized parts of the city over two months ago and have resisted all attempts by the Philippine army to evict them. 

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the two countries had strong ties on political and defence issues, and Indonesia wanted to deepen trade ties. 

    The ministers also discussed tensions on the Korean peninsula, the South China Sea and conflict in the West Asia, but gave no details. 

  • 15th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting begins in Kathmandu
    Nepal Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that terrorism continues to be the greatest threat to peace, democracy, development and good neighborliness. Inaugurating the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial on 10th August at Kathmandu, Mr. Deuba said that Nepal firmly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 

    He said that BIMSTEC region is blessed with vast and diverse natural resources and if they are harnessed properly and efficiently prosperity will not be out of reach of our peoples. Nepal PM also said that as BIMSTEC mark the twentieth anniversary it is the right moment to focus on deepening rather than widening the areas of cooperation. 

    During the two day meeting foreign ministers of member countries will review the progress in identified fourteen areas of cooperation and discuss ways to accelerate cooperation under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) process. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj representing India in the meeting. 

  • Unexploded bomb found at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan
    A suspected unexploded bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The US is thought to have dropped the 89 cm-long device during World War-II. 

    It is found by workers building a car park at the site where a four-decade-long decommissioning process is under way. 

    Tens of thousands of residents had to evacuate the area after a reactor meltdown in 2011 following an earthquake and tsunami. The incident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) site was the world's most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. No-one died directly in the meltdown but three former Tepco executives are facing trial on charges of negligence because of deaths related to the area's evacuation. 

  • BIMSTEC decides for great cooperation
    The 15th Ministerial Meeting of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was concluded at Kathmandu 11th August. In a joint statement issued after the meeting the members agreed to intensify their collaborative efforts to realise the aims and purposes of the group embodied therein and pledged to make BIMSTEC stronger, more effective and result oriented. 

    The members also reaffirmed commitment to intensify their efforts to realise the directives outlined and the Agenda of Action as agreed by the Leaders during the Goa Retreat in 2016. 

    They agreed to emphasise the need for greater cooperation in trade and investment in order to deepen regional integration in the Bay of Bengal region. 

    The members also recognised paramount importance of early conclusion of BIMSTEC Free Trade Area. The Trade Negotiating Committee and Working Groups were directed to expedite the finalization of its constituent Agreements. 

    The members also urged authorities for early finalisation of the BIMSTEC Trade Facilitation Agreement and BIMSTEC Agreement on Mutual Assistance on Customs Matters. 

    The foreign ministers expressed satisfaction that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection is ready for signature. They also welcomed launch of BIMSTEC Tele-medicine Network by JIPMER India to strengthen collaboration among premier medical institutions in the region. 

    They reiterated strong commitment of their leaders to combat terrorism, which remains the single most significant threat to peace and stability of the region. The members agreed to take concrete measures to step up cooperation and coordination among law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations. 

    They also expressed gratitude to the Government of India for hosting the First Annual Meeting of the National Security Chiefs in New Delhi on 21 March 2017. The members expressed satisfaction on activities and commemorative events undertaken so far to celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of the establishment of the BIMSTEC. 

    The leaders of delegation of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand expressed their profound appreciation to the Government of Nepal for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the meeting. 

    The statement said that ministers look forward to meeting in Nepal for the Sixteenth Ministerial Meeting and the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit. 

  • Facebook launches YouTube competitor called ‘Watch’
    Facebook has a new home for original video content produced exclusively for it by partners, who will earn 55 percent of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45 percent. The “Watch” tab and several dozen original shows will start rolling out to a small group of U.S. users on mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps. 

    By hosting original programming, Facebook could boost ad revenue and give people a reason to frequently return to the News Feed for content they can’t get anywhere else. 

  • US tests missile-interceptor system THAAD
    US forces carried out a successful test on 30th July of a missile-interception system. The test of the THAAD system, which the United States wants to set up in South Korea, came two days after North Korea's second test of an ICBM. The US Missile Defense Agency said, in the American test, a medium-range missile was launched from a US Air Force C-17 aircraft flying over the Pacific and a THAAD unit in Alaska detected, tracked and intercepted the target. 

  • No free movement between UK and EU countries after March 2019 
    Prime Minister Theresa May’s office says free movement to Britain from European Union countries will end when the UK leaves the bloc in March 2019, but it’s uncertain what migration arrangements will look like after that. May’s government is divided over Brexit, and ministers have been sending mixed signals. Last week Treasury chief Philip Hammond said Britain will abide by some EU rules for up to three years post-2019, suggesting some form of continued free movement to help businesses avoid a “cliff edge.” 

  • India, China home to 39% of young Internet users: UN report
    India and China are home to 39 per cent of the 830 million young people worldwide who use the Internet. According to a UN report, there is significant increase in broadband access and subscriptions, with China leading the way. 

    The data released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), shows that youths (15-24 years old) are at the forefront of Internet adoption. 

    In the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), up to 35 per cent of individuals using the Internet are aged 15-24, compared with 13 per cent in developed countries and 23 per cent globally. The report adds that mobile broadband subscriptions have grown more than 20 per cent annually in the last five years and are expected to reach 4.3 billion globally by the end of 2017. 

    The number of fixed-broadband subscriptions has increased by 9 per cent annually in the last five years with up to 330 million subscriptions added. There has been an increase in high-speed fixed broadband subscriptions parallel to the growth in the number of fibre connections. 

    While the Internet user gender gap has narrowed in most regions since 2013, the proportion of men using the Internet remains slightly higher than the proportion of women using the Internet in two-thirds of countries worldwide. 

    Developing countries, which are home to 83 per cent of the global population, generate 39 per cent of the world's telecommunication revenues. 

  • Pakistan National Assembly elects Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as PM
    Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has has been elected Prime Minister by Pakistan's National Assembly, becoming the interim leader of the country after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal. 

    Abbasi got elected after getting 221 votes in the House of 342. Naveed Qamar of Pakistan People’s Party got 47 votes, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf got 33 while Jamaat-e-Islami's Sahibzada Tariqullah managed just four votes. 

    The Supreme Court disqualified 67-year-old Prime Minister Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing him to resign. The National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, was summoned by President Hussain to elect the new leader. 

  • US President signs Russia sanctions bill into law
    Us President Donald Trump has signed into a law a bill which imposes new sanctions on Russia for their alleged meddling in the 2016 election. 

    The bill, which was signed in private at the White House, also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The legislation handcuffs the President from easing penalties on Russia without congressional approval. Russia denies interfering in the US election, and Mr Trump has denied colluding with Russia. 

    The White House had previously indicated that Mr Trump would sign the bill after it had passed through both houses of Congress. 

  • China opens its first overseas Military base in Djibouti
    China formally launched its first overseas naval facility in Djibouti, an East African nation. Five Chinese formations and Djibouti’s Three Services HonorGuard took part in the launch ceremony on 1 of August 2017. The event marked the 90th anniversary of the Chinese military Services. 

  • UN Security Council resolution to slash North Korea exports
    A US-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution, aims to slash by a third North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by banning the country's trade of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. North Korea ally China and Russia would support the draft resolution, which was circulated to the 15 Security Council members on 4th August. 

    The United States is aiming for a vote on 5th August to impose the stronger sanctions over North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July, though Russia and some other council members are asking for more time

    A resolution needs nine votes in favor, and no vetoes by the United States, China, Russia, France or Britain, to be adopted. 

    The draft resolution would also prohibit countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad ban new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures. 

  • Qatar to offer permanent residency to some Non-Citizens
    Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a law making permanent residency available to some non-citizens. The residency permits could be granted to children of Qatari women married to foreigners, people who “offered valuable services to the country” and those with special skills. As in many Arab countries, a Qatari child’s citizenship is granted based on the father’s nationality. 

  • UNSC imposes new sanctions on North Korea 
    The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on 5th August that could slash by a third the Asian state's $3 billion annual export revenue over North Korea’s two July intercontinental ballistic missile tests. 

    The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures. 

  • Hassan Rouhani sworn in as Iran's president for second term
    Iran's re-elected president Hassan Rouhani has been sworn in for his second term in an official ceremony held at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.
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