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June 2019 - International News

  • The air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, was code-named ‘Operation Bandar’.

    To maintain secrecy till the mission was executed, the Mirages took off directly from their home base in Gwalior. Balakot air strike was carried in response to the Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of 40 security personnel.

  • The Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) has discovered the country’s first magnetite or iron ore mine in Dinajpur, Bangladesh.

    The iron in the mine was 65% which indicates the high quality of the ore. The Geological Survey of Bangladesh first took up drilling of the area in 2013 and the second drilling was started in April 2019.

  • Bangladesh TV to be telecasted in India. Information Minister of Bangladesh Hasan Mahmud said that the governments of the two countries have finalised an agreement to telecast Bangladesh TV (BTV) in India. At the same time DD India will also be made available in Bangladesh.

    BTV and Bangladesh Betar are the government-owned public broadcasters of Bangladesh for television and Radio.

  • Etihad Airways suspend operations through Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. The decision of the US Federal Aviation Administration to restrict US airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways consulted closely with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and other UAE airlines to evaluate the US action.

    Etihad Airways has subsequently suspended operations through Iranian airspace over the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, and will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice.

  • Sri Lanka: India-assisted emergency ambulance service reaches its countrywide coverage.
    India-assisted emergency ambulance service reached its countrywide coverage with the launch in the eastern province. The service is now available in all nine Provinces of Sri Lanka.

    The emergency ambulance service was first announced during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka in March 2015. An additional grant amount of 15.02 million US dollars was provided by India to undertake island-wide expansion which covered the purchase of 209 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and training costs.

    The emergency ambulance service which can be obtained by simply dialling toll-free no ‘1990’ on any network in Sri Lanka, is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after the Indian Housing Project.

  • Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to get membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The number of permanent members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is 39.

    The membership admitted into the global money laundering after the Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida. FATF celebrated their 30th anniversary of its first meeting

    Saudi Arabia received an invitation from FATF in 2015 and they joined as an "observer member'.

  • Council of Europe restores Russias voting rights.
    Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favour of restoring Russia's voting rights, five years after they were revoked over its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

  • Mohamed Ould Ghazouani: New Mauritania's President
    Former Defense Minister Mohamed Ould Ghazouani was declared winner of Mauritania's presidential election.

  • UAE launches UN-developed anti money laundering platform goAML.  The United Arab Emirates' Central Bank in Abu Dhabi at their Financial Intelligence Unit (FILI) introduced a new reporting platform 'goAML' (global operations Anti-Money Laundering).

    It is developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Their main aim is to curb organised crimes. It is the first country in the Gulf to launch this platform. It will help FIU to prevent money laundering, financing against terrorism. It was developed by UNODC.

  • Mette Frederiksen: New Denmark Prime Minister. She  has become the country’s youngest ever Prime Minister. Denmark has become the third Nordic country in 2019 to form a leftist government after she won the elections. She is the leader of the Social Democratic party leader.

  • Russia extended its ban on food products from the European Union up to 31 December 2020
    Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed for extending Moscow’s Embargo on food products from European Union (EU) upto 31 December 2020. This is due to Russia's retaliation against sanctions over Ukraine. The decree prohibits a number of imports from various countries for one year which includes agricultural products, raw materials and other food items.

    Russia primarily targeted their restrictions on finance, energy and defence sectors of Russian economy. Russian economy is affected by pushing up the food products.

  • BIMSTEC Day celebrated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Members of the 7 countries regional grouping Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) celebrated the BIMSTEC Day on 25 June, 2019 in Dhaka. BIMSTEC will be able to achieve further progress in various sectors of cooperation. The progress of BIMSTEC in 14 priority areas in the last 22 years of its existence.

  • The Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance is hosting a Meeting of Expert Working Group on Paris Pact Initiative in Afghanistan. The Meeting is being held on 27-28 June 2019 and is being organised with the support of United Nations Office on Drugs & Crimes (UNODC).

    Paris Pact is a group of 58 countries and 23 International Organisations affected with drug trafficking of Afghan Opiates.

  • International Macro Small and Medium Enterprises Day 2019 is observed every year on 27 June.
    Indian MSMEs have stood the test of time, technology and labour. The theme would be 'Indian MSMEs, Global Aspirations'.

    International MSME Day 2019 is not just recognised as a day to celebrate the growth of MSMEs, but also to identify the challenges and provide solutions for the sector. The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises is organizing an international convention in New Delhi.

  • New unprinting method to recycle paper.  The new 'Unprinting' method, developed and led by a team of researchers at Rutgers University in the US, can work with the standard, coated paper used in home and office printers.

    According to a study in the Journal of Cleaner Production, this innovation uses pulses of light from a xenon lamp. This method makes it possible to unprint and then reprint on the same paper at least five times.

  • Noida to issue 'red cards' for harassing women. In order to strengthen its 'anti-Romeo squads', Noida Police will issue red cards as warnings to men found harassing women in public by following them or passing comments. While issuing the red cards, the details of the men will be noted by the police. If the same person commits a similar offence again, strict action will be taken against him.

  • Israel has restored fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip's sole power plant and expanded the permitted fishing zone off the enclave's coast, easing some recent restrictions on the blockaded territory.

    Palestinian reports that Israel had resumed fuel deliveries that were cut off earlier this week, and extended the fishing zone up to 15 nautical miles from 10 nautical miles. The Hamas militant group which rules Gaza promised to halt the attacks on Israel.

  • US President Donald Trump holds talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.  President Donald Trump hailed his very good relationship with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as the two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

    Trump came face to face with Putin for the first time since the special counsel found extensive evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US election. A major probe led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found there was an organised Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election won by Trump.

    It found contacts between Russian operatives and Trump's election campaign, but no evidence of a joint plot. In Helsinki last year, Trump refused at a joint press conference with Putin to criticise Russian interference in the 2016 election and said that he believed the Russian leader's denials.

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged G-20 leaders to take action on equitable and stable reforms to strengthen the global financial safety net and increase the global economy's resilience.

    For the two-day summit beginning on 28 June, 2019 Guterres said that fast and equal economic growth should be constructed so that people who live in "the 'rust belts' of the world are not left behind."

  • President Donald Trump has landed in South Korea for an imprompt meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas. Mr Trump earlier tweeted from Japan, where he was attending a G-20 summit, that he would be willing to meet Kim at the Demilitarized Zone just to shake hand and say Hello.

    The two leaders first met in Singapore last year (2018), the first ever encounter between a leader of North Korea and a sitting US President. The summit produced a vaguely-worded pledge about denuclearisation. Their second meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam four months ago collapsed without any agreement.

  • US deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for 1st time.  The United States has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said. The announcement adds to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid tensions with Iran. The US Air Forces Central Military Command stated that the Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed to defend American forces and interests. The number of hi-tech planes sent was not specified.

  • United States has allowed Iraq to import Iranian gas. The United States has allowed Iraq to import Iranian gas for its power grid for another three months by extending a waiver to sanctions. But the US insisted that Iraq finds an alternative measure for its need of electricity, including by harnessing gas energy and reducing flaring at oil production sites.

    Iraq has had several extensions to the waiver first granted in 2018 after Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector forbidding countries from purchasing Iranian energy. The extension was given during a phone call between Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The United States continued to insist on diversifying energy imports away from Iran.

    U.S. energy giant General Electric won a multibillion-dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq’s electricity system amid intense U.S. lobbying efforts. US reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in November, citing concerns about its nuclear programme and its meddling in the Middle East.

  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on 17 June. The day promotes public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.

    The theme for 2019 is “Let's grow the future together”. It is an occasion to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all level.

  • World Food India will be held in New Delhi from 1st of November, 2019. She said, the event which will continue till 4th November, will position India as Food Processing Destination of the World.

    Mrs Kaur while chairing a meeting with various stakeholders of World Food India including the CEOs of major food processing companies and Industry Associations. the meetings discussed the investment opportunities available in India in the Food Processing Sector.

    Indian Food Processing Industry has grown tremendously recording 11 per cent growth rate, which is twice the pace of Global Industry. The sector has recorded double digit growth rate across all major sub-segments of the sectors both in terms of value and volume.

  • The 48th DG conference was held between India's Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). It was concluded on 15 June at Dhaka, Bangladesh. A Joint Record of Discussion was signed by DG, BSF, Rajni Kant Mishra and DG, BGB, Major General Md Shafeenul Islam.

    Both BSF abd BGB agreed to undertake joint efforts to bring down the killing incidents to zero by increasing coordinated patrols in vulnerable areas to cattle and narcotics smuggling, educating border population about the sanctity of International Border (IB) and preventing criminals from crossing the IB.

    Both sides also agreed to pursue and share real-time information including a preliminary questioning report as applicable about the persons apprehended with smuggled items. The two Border guard forces also agreed to declare new areas as crime free zone in phases of which proposed area within Sarail region or Tripura Frontier may be formalised in the first phase. The next DG level conference will be held in New Delhi during the first week of November 2019.

  • Donald Trump to hold extended talks with Xi Jinping on sidelines of G20
    US President Donald Trump has said, he will hold an extended meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. The move is seen as a major development amid the ongoing trade war between two of the world's largest economies.

    Trump met with Xi at the previous G-20 at Buenos Aires in Argentina last December (2018). The two leaders discussed the trade dispute and tariffs besides other issues. 

    Their respective teams will begin talks prior to the meeting. Trump's tweet came after his telephonic conversation with Xi. Leaders of top 20 economies of the world, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the head of the European Union, are schedu

  • The World Sickle Cell Day is observed every year on 19 June. It is observed each year to raise public awareness about the sickle cell disease and its treatment methods.

    Sickle cell disease is an inherited form of anaemia in which red blood cells are not able to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body.

  • Social media giant Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dropped from his 2018 rank of number 16 to number 55 on the list of top Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in the US 2019. Adobe's Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft's Satya Nadella bagged the coveted fifth and sixth spots in the list gaining an employee approval rating of 98% each.

  • Victoria has become the first state in Australia to enact Euthanasia laws.
    It would now allow terminally ill patients suffering from intolerable pain to legally ask their doctor for lethal drugs to end their lives. The state's historic laws were effective from 19 June 2019. Queensland and Western Australia are now considering enacting the legislation.

  • WHO launched a new tool to handle AMR named "AWaRe".
    The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global campaign named "AWaRe" urging governments to adopt a tool to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adverse events and costs. It is developed by the WHO Essential Medicines List. It is classified antibiotics into three groups - Access, Watch and Reserve.

    The main aim to increase the proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in the Access group to at least 60% and to reduce the usage of the antibiotics from the Watch and Reserve groups. The AWaRe campaign - 'AdoptAWaRe, Handle antibiotics with care'.

  • Ireland plans to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.  Ireland decided to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 as part of a major strategy to protect the environment. It is one among the 180 measures of the Irish government published in the Climate Action Plan. They plan to have 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads supported by a network of charging stations.

    This plan also includes the elimination of non-recyclable plastic and higher fees for plastic items which are difficult to recycle. To this, the government decided to invest in a nationwide charging network.

    Their main objective is to transition to a low-carbon to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The ban of the sale of new fossil fuel cars, they would stop granting National Car Test (NCT) certificates to such vehicles by 2045.

  • Mexico has ratified the US-Mexico-Canada agreement. This makes it the first country to give the new North American trade deal final approval despite recent tensions with the US. The Mexican government called the deal's passage a clear message in favor of an open economy and deepening economic integration in the region.

    President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador claimed the deal would bring in more foreign investment and jobs in Mexico, and access to the US market. The deal aims to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which helped turn Mexico into an exporting powerhouse over the past 25 years. It now falls to Canada and the US to ratify the deal.

    The three countries signed the agreement on 30th November after a year of negotiations triggered by US President Donald Trump's insistence on replacing NAFTA.

  • World Refugee Day is observed on the 20th of June every year. It celebrates the stories and contributions of refugees.

    The theme this year is "Step with Refugees - Take a Step on World Refugee Day." According to the latest annual study released by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 70.8 million children, women and men were forcibly displaced at the end of 2018.

  • Fifth International Yoga Day is being celebrated on 21 June, 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in celebrating yoga day from Ranchi in Jharkhand. The main function was held at the Prabhat Tara ground in Ranchi on 21 June morning.

  • US-China trade war, sea row in ASEAN summit spotlight.
    Southeast Asian leaders will commit to conclude a long-delayed regional trade pact this year despite lingering odds to fend off risks from a protracted U.S.-China trade war when they gather for a weekend summit in Thailand.

    The Chinese sinking of a Philippine boat, which endangered 22 Filipino fishermen, is also expected to put the South China Sea territorial conflicts under the spotlight in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings. The two-day summit gets underway in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where ASEAN was founded in 1967 in the Cold War era.

    Other key issues include the planned repatriation of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, who have fled a military crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar since August 2017 to neighboring Bangladesh in a crisis that has tested ASEAN.

  • World Music Day or International Music Day is observed on June 21 every year. In India, Exchange4Media & are hosting annual music conference, Music Inc.

    The theme for 2019 is ‘Music at the intersections'. The first ever music day took place in 1982 in Paris as the Fête de la Musique. The move was proposed by Jack Lang (French politician) and Maurice Fleuret.

  • UAE Cabinet adopts "National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031". The UAE Cabinet adopted the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031 during its meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. One of the most important initiatives is the development of the first 'National Wellbeing Observatory' to support the policymaking process.

    It will monitor a number of indicators of wellbeing in the UAE, submit regular reports to the UAE Cabinet, propose training programmes for government employees, and launch of the Academy of Wellbeing future generations, in addition to the formation of a National Wellbeing Council to manage and coordinate the national strategy.

    Chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031 aims to make the UAE a world leader in quality of life through a number of strategic objectives and initiatives.

    It also aims to promote an integrated concept of wellbeing, thus supporting the vision of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071. The Strategy is based on a national framework of three main levels - individuals, society and the country.

    It includes 14 components and nine strategic objectives, which include enhancing people's wellbeing by promoting healthy and active lifestyles, promoting good mental health and adopting positive thinking. The Strategy includes 90 supporting initiatives targeting more than 40 priority areas.

  • Kazakhstan elected new president Kassym Jomart-Tokayev. The victory of Kassym Jomart-Tokayev was never in doubt after he received the blessing of powerful Nazarbayev.

  • SriLankan Airlines named as the 'World's Most Punctual Airline' for the second consecutive time with over 90 percent of its flights in May. This status was achieved for the second time in less than 12 months.

    They achieved a punctuality rating of 91.37 percent reports Xinhua news agency. In a may month they achieved a punctuality rating of 90.75 percent.

  • The V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Tuticorin and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) signed a MoU on 10 June 2019. It will facilitate Direct Port Entry (DPE) of e-sealed factory stuffed export container to the port under ‘Ease of Doing Business’.

  • Pakistan has assured support for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan at the first Review session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) held in Islamabad.

    Delegations from the two nations held the first review session of a bilateral engagement framework to improve cooperation in different fields. Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman led their respective multi-agency delegations in the meeting.

    It was agreed that the APAPPS was the best forum to overcome common challenges and to take bilateral relations to the next level and it was emphasized to optimally utilise this mechanism. The APAPPS was established last year to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional engagement in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • US imposes sanctions on Syrian industrialist Samer Foz.
    United States imposed sanctions on Samer Foz, a Syrian industrialist behind high-end developments for allegedly enriching President Bashar al-Assad.

    US Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, said this Syrian oligarch is directly supporting the Assad regime and building luxury developments on land stolen from those fleeing his brutality.

    The US Treasury Department also blacklisted properties of Foz and his Aman Holding Company including the Four Seasons hotel.

  • ‘UAE paid businessman to spy on Trump administration’.
    A UAE businessman linked to a probe of illegal donations to Donald Trump’s political campaign was paid by his country’s intelligence agency to spy on the U.S. President’s administration.

    Rashid al-Malik received tens of thousands of dollars a month for gleaning information on Trump administration policy toward West Asia in 2017.

    UAE’s National Intelligence Service on topics of interest to the oil-producing Gulf state — including U.S. efforts to mediate a Gulf feud involving Qatar — as well as meetings between U.S. officials and Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    Late last year, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. federal prosecutors were investigating whether foreigners illegally funnelled donations to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump fundraising super PAC. Mr. Al-Malik, chairman of the investment firm Hayah Holdings, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Muller’s office as part of the probe, according to the New York Times.

  • Kassyam-Jomart Tokayev takes oath as new president of Kajakhastan.
    In Kajakhastan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took oath as the new president of the country. He was acting president following the surprise resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev in March 2019.

    The career diplomat became the country’s second elected president after succeeding 78-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev. Mr Toqaev took the oath of office during a ceremony at the Palace of Independence in the capital, Nur-Sultan.

    The 66-year-old took nearly 71 per cent of the ballots in the early presidential election this month. Mr Toqaev's landslide victory was widely expected after he received the blessing of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who officially stepped down as in March after almost 30 years in power. The transition comes amid rising dissent in Kazakhstan.

  • UAE and Germany reaffirm joint commitment to fight against terrorism.
    United Arab Emirates and Germany have reaffirmed their joint commitment to fight against terrorism and violent extremism, in all its forms, at both regional and international levels.

    In a joint statement issued in Berlin at the end of the two-day visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Germany, the two countries expressed their shared view that terrorism and violent extremism are threats to the international order.

    The Emirates News Agency reported that the two sides also agreed on rallying efforts on counter-terrorism issues, exchanging of expertise and information on combating terrorism and strengthening individual training and capacity-building in that regard.

  • U.S. open to dialogue on GSP, says Michael Pompeo.
    U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hinted that it was possible to reinstate the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a programme for preferential access to certain goods markets in the U.S., for India.

    Mr. Pompeo is expected to discuss this as well as 5G network technology and data localisation while in New Delhi later this month on a visit.

    In addition to GSP, data localisation regulations and proposed policies have been a source of friction between the two countries.

    Also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and secure consumers’ privacy”.

  • International Day against Child Labour: 12 June. June 12 is observed as the International Day Against Child Labour every year.

    The day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society as well as millions of people to highlight the plight of child labourers and measures to help them. The theme for 2019 is, 'Children should not work in fields but on dreams'.

  • Japan to invest Rs. 13000 crore in north-east.
    Japan has decided to invest about Rs 13,000 crore in several ongoing as well as new projects in different states of the north-eastern region.

    New areas of collaboration will be sought which could possibly include bamboo-related projects.

    Other projects in which Japan will collaborate include Guwahati water supply and sewage projects in Assam, and more.

  • UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signs US extradition order for Julian Assange.
    UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has signed a request for Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the US where he faces charges of computer hacking.

    The final decision on WikiLeaks founder is now with the courts. Mr Javed signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow

    The 47-year-old Australian was too ill to appear last month at a hearing at Westminster magistrates court in relation to the US request.

    The hearing has been rescheduled for tomorrow, and depending on Assange’s condition, may take place at Belmarsh prison where he is being held.

    Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who presides over a number of high-profile Indian extradition requests including that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamond merchant Nirav Modi will be hearing the case.

    The charges against Assange under the US Espionage Act accuse him of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring to hack into a government computer.

  • UAE, GCC condemn terror attack targeting Saudi Arabia's Abha International Airport
    The UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have condemned the terrorist attack targeting Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport, allegedly by the Houthi rebels which have resulted in the injury of many civilians.

    UAE strongly condemned this terrorist act which utilised military projectile capabilities and deemed it as new evidence of the Houthi's hostile and terrorist tendencies that seek to undermine security and stability in the region.

    The security of the UAE and of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is indivisible, it noted and added that any threat or danger to the Kingdom's security is considered a threat to UAE's security and stability.

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also deplored the launch of Yemen's Houthi militias of a missile at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport that wounded 26 civilians.

    In a press statement, GCC, Secretary General Abdulatif Al-Zayani described this act as a terrorist crime, which runs counter to the international humanitarian law. He denounced the targeting of the populated areas and civilian facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    The GCC chief also urged the UN Security Council to put an end to continued attacks carried out by the Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia, saying this is a clear threat to regional security and peace.

    Eight people with moderate injuries were transferred to a hospital for treatment, while 18 were treated at the site for minor injuries. There was also some physical damage to the airport lounge.

  • World Blood Donor Day: 14 June. 
    World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on 14 June to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors.

    The theme for 2019 is - Blood Donation and Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion, as a component of achieving universal health coverage.

    The slogan - Safe Blood for All - has also been adopted.

  • China summons US envoy over Hong Kong human rights bill.
    China summoned the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Beijing Robert Forden and lodged a diplomatic protest objecting to a proposed bill that threatens to remove Hong Kong's status as a US special trading partner.

    Beijing will not accept foreign forces meddling in Hong Kong affairs.

    Hong Kong has been witnessing massive protests since 9th June with over a million people taking to the streets opposing the proposed extradition bill over fears that it would allow China to round up opponents to face trial on the mainland China, where the courts are under the Communist Party control.

    China's warning came a day after US lawmakers reintroduced proposed legislation to reaffirm the US commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when these freedoms and Hong Kong's autonomy are being eroded through interference by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.

  • No trade action against India as of now: USTR
    The United States had no announcement of a trade action at the moment but continued to raise market access concerns with India, reacting to media reports last week that the U.S. was considering launching a 301 probe against India.

    U.S. exporters are encountering significant tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede U.S. access to the Indian market across sectors, including both goods and services. A 301 probe can be wide in scope and can result in the U.S. imposing tariffs or taking other trade action against its trading partners if the parties do not come to a settlement.

    The USTR’s would take retaliatory action against the U.S.’s tariffs on steel and aluminium (from 2018), by imposing tariffs on 29 goods from June 16. The tariffs will cause the U.S. a tax burden of $220-$290 million.

    Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal would have to show a willingness to fix trade issues and also have proposed fixes ready. In August 2017, the USTR initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the U.S.’s Trade Act of 1974 . In April 2018, the USTR official announced it made a determination based on its investigation and proposed tariff action. The first set of tariffs kicked off in July 2018.

  • Turkey rejected USs ultimatum to back down on Russian missile deal.
    Turkey will not back down from its decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems despite U.S.'s ultimatum. This has created tension between Ankara and Washington, the NATO allies.

    The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense systems. US said it would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to asses the impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States.

    U.S. urged Turkey to abandon its purchase of a Russian missile defence system. If Turkey does not end the deal, U.S. said that it would expel the Turkish pilots training on the F-35 fighter jet programme.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu suggested an offer to set up a joint working group to resolve U.S. concerns.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping was conferred with Manas Order of the First Degree.
    Chinese President Xi Jinping was conferred with Manas Order of the First Degree, the highest national award in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He was awarded during visit to Kyrgyzstan before the SCO summit. President Xi said that the honour has fully demonstrated the relationship between both the countries and people.

    China plan to partner with Kyrgyzstan to deepen traditional friendship between the two countries and also towards pushing forward Kyrgyzstan-China comprehensive strategic partnership for new bilateral achievements.

    Kyrgyzstan is hosting 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit starting 14 June 2019. SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and security alliance in which China plays an influential role. The founding member of SCO includes China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. India and Pakistan were admitted to Beijing-based regional security grouping in 2017.

  • The US formally terminated Indias eligibility for a duty free import scheme.
    The United States on formally terminated India’s eligibility for a duty-free import scheme for developing countries on 31 May.

    It cited that India has not given assurances it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets to US companies as required under relevant American trade laws. The country would end its preferential trade treatment for India on June 5.

  • World Digestive Health Day: 29th May. (World Digestive Health Day, World Gastroenterology Organisation)

    World Digestive Health Day is observed every year on 29 May by the World Gastroenterology Organisation, in collaboration with the WGO Foundation. The theme for the World Digestive Health Day 2019 campaign is "Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer."

  • Nepal celebrates Mt. Everest Day: 29th May
    Nepal celebrates Mt. Everest Day on May 29 every year in memory of the first summit of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

  • World Parents Day: 01 June. The Global Day of Parents is observed on June 1 every year. This day aims to honor the ones who have always stood by us and it celebrates the parent’s selfless involvement to power a child’s journey.

    The day was announced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to honor the parents all over the world. The day provides children with an opportunity to appreciate parents for their livelong sacrifice and endless love.

  • World Hunger Day is observed every year on 28 May. World Hunger Day (28th May) is a day to stand in solidarity with the 815 million people globally who are undernourished. The theme for World Hunger Day 2019 is simply 'Sustainability'.

  • US President Donald Trump arrived in Britain for a three-day state visit during which he is to attend a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and meet outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

  • US house passes USD 19billion disaster relief bill. After months of negotiations and a week-long recess, the US House of Representatives cleared a USD 19.1 billion disaster relief bill aimed at providing funds to areas hit by earthquake, hurricanes, flooding and wildfire.

    The bill,which passed in the House would provide approximately USD 900 mn for US unincorporated territory Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from 2017's Hurricane Maria.

  • US to sell 34 drones to allies in South China. The Trump administration has moved ahead with a surveillance drone sale to four US allies in the South China Sea region.

    The drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region. The Pentagon would sell 34 ScanEagle drones,made by Boeing Co. to the government of Malaysia,Indonesia,Philippines and Vietnam for a total of $47 million.

  • Vietnam tops list from US-China trade war.
    The Southeast Asian nation,which shares a border with China, gained orders from trade diversion on tariffed goods equal to 7.9% of GD in the year through the first quarter of 2019.

    Taiwan is a distant second among the winners, with gains equivalent to 2.1% of GDP. American and Chinese orders for more than half of the 1,981 tariffed products in the U.S.-China trade.

  • The US has imposed major new travel restrictions on its citizens visiting Cuba, banning cruise ships and ending a heavily used form of educational travel as it seeks to further isolate the communist government. The Treasury Department has announced that the US will no longer allow cruises to Cuba or the group educational and cultural trips known as "people to people" travel to the island. Along with the cruise ships, the US will also now ban most private planes and boats from stopping the island. 

    The move could constitute a heavy hit on Cuba, which saw more than a quarter-million US visitors in the first four months of 2019, almost double the figure from a year earlier. The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people, its interference in Venezuela, and its direct role in the man-made crisis led by Nicolas Maduro.

    The Cuban government condemned the move, which could cost the country's economy tens of millions of dollars a year in lost income.

  • Nigeria's Ambassador to the United Nations Tijjani Muhammad-Bande was elected as President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
    The 193-member UNGA elected Muhammad-Bande, who had been nominated by Nigeria and endorsed by the African group, at the election by acclamation. In accordance with the rules, the President of the 74th session of the General Assembly should be elected from among the African States.

    Muhammad-Bande was elected by acclamation and he will succeed Maria Fernanda Espinosa as the President of the next General Assembly session that will commence in September. He assumes charge as the world body gets ready to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its creation next year.

  • World Environment Day, celebrated every year on 5 June. Every year, the UN marks a different focus to commemorate the day. The country hosting the main event for the year chooses the theme for World Environment day.

    World Environment Day 2019 will be hosted by China, with a theme of "Air Pollution". World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.

  • US terminated India's preferential trade status under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) programme. GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme.

    The move was taken on determining that India has not committed to provide “equitable and reasonable access to its markets” for the US.

  • Russia launches first Arctic train service. In Russia, the first tourist train traveling through Russia's Arctic region and on to Norway, set off from St. Petersburg station with 91 passengers aboard for the inaugural trial journey. The tourists came from seven countries including the US, Germany, Norway and Russia.

    The train, named, Zarengold, complete with two restaurant cars will travel from Saint Petersburg through according to the organisers, the whole trip will take 11 days and allow passengers to discover areas difficult to access by other means.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Moscow for a state visit to Russia and the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Xi will have talks in the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin before attending a formal reception.

    The visit comes five years after Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a serious rift with its Western partners and subsequent turn toward its neighbour to the east. The three-day visit to Russia marks a new era of friendship and reinforce economic ties that had benefited from Moscow's isolation from the West.

    From Moscow, Xi will travel to Russia's former imperial capital Saint Petersburg to attend the Economic Forum hosted by Putin on 06th and 07th June, 2019. The partnership is yielding rising trade, which has increased by 25 percent in 2018 to hit a record 108 billion dollars. China is Russia's most important economic partner. He also said that both countries would also discuss their relationship with the great Western powers, including the United States.

  • Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal held the Speaker’s gavel becoming the first South Asian American woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.

    The 116th Congress broke records with women and lawmakers crossing racial and religious barriers, including an all time high for Asian American lawmakers.

  • India Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Gehlot will participate in the “2nd Global Disability Summit" to be held at Buenos Aires Argentina during 6-8 June'19.

    Objective of the summit is to deliberate on issues across the world concerning empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and to work out a mechanism for enabling them to live an independent and dignified life.

  • Prayut Chan-o-cha to be prime minister of Thailand. MPs and senators overwhelmingly voted for Prayut Chan-o-cha to be prime minister of Thailand.

  • Russia was prepared to drop a nuclear weapons agreement treaty with the US. Putin warned global catastrophe if Washington keeps dismantling a global arms control regime.

    Washington showed no genuine interest in conducting talks on extending the New START treaty which caps the number of nuclear warheads well below Cold War limits. The treaty was signed by US President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Prague in 2010. It expires in 2021.

  • United States has hit Iran's petrochemical group PGPIC with economic sanctions due to its ties with the country's Revolutionary Guards.

    The move aims to choke off financing to the country's largest and most profitable petrochemical group and extends to its 39 subsidiaries and foreign-based sales agents. The action is a warning that US will continue to target holding groups and companies that provide financial lifelines to the Revolutionary Guards.

    Treasury warned that international companies continuing to partner with PGPIC or subsidiaries and sales agents will themselves be exposed to US sanctions. Following President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, US efforts over the past year to choke off Iran's economy have angered allies as foreign companies get caught up in the dispute.

    The PGPIC group holds 40 per cent of Iran's total petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50 percent of the country's petrochemical exports. Meanwhile, Iran has rejected an idea mooted by France of re-opening nuclear talks, warning that seeking to broaden an existing landmark treaty could lead to its collapse.

  • China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin hit back at U.S. global economic dominance on 07 June, 2019 as they took the stage together at Russia’s showcase business forum.

    With China embroiled in a trade war with Washington and Russia under Western sanctions, Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin lashed out at “inequalities” in the global economic system and vowed to pursue closer ties between their countries.

    Mr. Xi’s visit has seen the signing of dozens of commercial contracts in e-commerce, telecoms, gas and other areas.

    Other deals have been signed at the forum, including one between Russian and Chinese shipping companies to work together to develop Arctic sea routes.



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