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May 2019 - International News

  • Donald Trump becomes first foreign leader to meet new Japanese emperor.
    US President Donald Trump got the red carpet treatment at Japan's Imperial Palace where he made history, becoming the first world leader to meet with the new emperor of Japan.

    Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, opening what is called the era of "Reiwa," or "beautiful harmony." The US President, who is on a four-day state visit to Japan, was treated to a welcome ceremony full of pomp and pageantry.

    Trump will go to the Japanese state guest house later for meetings and joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

  • International Commonwealth Day: 24 May.
    International Commonwealth Day was observed in Commonwealth countries on 24 May.

    A new theme is chosen annually for Commonwealth Day, and as a focus for activities undertaken during the ensuing year led by the Governments of Commonwealth member states and by Commonwealth organisations. The theme chosen for 2019 is 'A Connected Commonwealth'.

  • International Missing Children's Day: 25 May.
    International Missing Children’s Day is an awareness event that is observed every year on 25th May. The aims of the day are to place a spotlight on the issue of child abduction, educate parents on safeguarding measures to protect their children and also honour those who have never been found and celebrate those who have.

    Missing Children’s Day began as an observance in the USA in 1983. The date was chosen following the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz on 25th May 1979 from New York City. International Missing Children’s Day which observes the same date was launched a number of years later in 2001 and is now observed all over the world.

    The theme of International Missing Children's Day 2019 is "Bringing Our Missing Children Home".

  • Maldives ex-president Nasheed nominated as new Speaker.
    In Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed has been nominated as speaker of new parliament or Majlis which will hold its first sitting.

    Mr. Nasheed, who leads the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) was unanimously elected speaker by its newly elected MPs last night.

  • India elected to Executive Board of first UN-Habitat Assembly.
    India has been elected to the Executive Board of the first UN-Habitat Assembly. Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said the nation's global clout continues to grow significantly.

    The Ministry said, in an extremely proud development, India has been elected to the Executive Board of the first UN-Habitat Assembly at the Plenary Session of the Assembly started in Nairobi, Kenya.

    The special theme for the UN-Habitat Assembly is "Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities".

  • Scott Morrison sworn in as Australia's Prime Minister.
    Scott Morrison has been sworn in as Australia's Prime Minister, 11 days after retaining the position in the country's general election. He was sworn in by Queen Elizabeth's official representative in Australia, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, at a ceremony in the capital, Canberra. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was also sworn in.

    Morrison's revamped Cabinet, which includes a record seven women, and Australia's first Aboriginal federal Cabinet member had also taken the oath.

  • Sweden to host World Leaders Conference to Combat Anti-Semitism in October 2020.
    Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that Sweden will host an International Conference against Anti-Semitism in memory of the Holocaust in October 2020.

    It will be held in Malmo, Southern Sweden, on October 27 and 28, 20 years after the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust and 75 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The decision to fight against anti-Semitism is taken after the relations with Israel have been in trouble since the Nordic state's recognition of a Palestinian state by Lofven's Government in 2014.

  • US removes India from its currency watch list.
    India maintains ample reserves according to the IMF metrics for reserve adequacy, the US treasury department said in a report.

    India for the first time was placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies in May 2018 along with five other countries i.e Switzerland, China, Japan, South Korea and Germany.

  • US-UAE defense agreement comes into force.
    The United States and the United Arab Emirates have announced that mutual defence cooperation agreement (DCA) has come into force, amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran. At the joint statement DCA will enhance military coordination between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, further advancing an already robust military, political, and economic partnership at a critical time.

    The DCA will advance that interest by fostering closer collaboration on defence and security matters and supporting efforts by both nations to maintain security in the Gulf region. US national security advisor John Bolton was in Abu Dhabi, meeting his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

    This came on the eve of emergency Arab and Gulf summits called by Saudi Arabia to discuss the stand-off and ways to isolate Tehran.

  • International Day of UN Peacekeepers: 29 May.
    The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29th May 1948. The objective is to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution by the uniformed and civilian personnel and to honour more than 3,800 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while rendering peacekeeping services.

    The theme of 2019 is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”.

  • Nepal celebrating its 12th Republic Day.
    Nepal celebrating its 12th Republic Day on 29 May. A number of programmes are being organised in different parts of the country to mark the occasion.

    The main function was held at Army Pavilion in Kathmandu, which was attended by the President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli, cabinet ministers, senior government officials, heads and representatives of various diplomatic missions and other dignitaries.

    On Jesth 15, 2065 of Nepali Calendar (May 28, 2008) the Constituent Assembly of the Himalayan nation declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old monarchy. Since then, Nepal celebrates Jesth 15 as Republic Day every year.

  • UN extends sanctions against South Sudan
    The UN Security Council has extended an arms embargo and sanctions on South Sudan for a year, despite resistance from African countries, Russia and China.

    A US-drafted resolution was adopted on 30 May, 2019 by a vote of 10 in favour with five abstentions. Resolutions in the 15-member council require a minimum of nine votes for adoption.

    The measure renews until May 31, 2020, an arms embargo on South Sudan along with an assets freeze and global travel ban slapped on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fuelling the war.

  • Saudi King Salman urges international effort to thwart Iran.
    Saudi Arabia’s King Salman opened an emergency summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Mecca with a call for the international community to use all means to confront Iran. But, the kingdom extends its hand for peace.

    King Salman was speaking at the first of three high-level summits in Mecca that were urgently convened after a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran.

    The alleged sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and a drone attack on a key Saudi oil pipeline earlier this month requires serious efforts to protect the security and the gains of the six energy-rich Arab nations.

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled his new Cabinet, which includes two Indian-origin leaders and 50 per cent women, making the country one of the world's few gender-balanced governments.

    The number of Cabinet Ministers has been cut from 36 to 28. Mr Ramaphosa led the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party to victory in elections earlier this month with a majority of 57.5 per cent, the smallest since the party came to power 25 years ago.

    The two Indian-origin ministers who have been retained from the previous administration are Pravin Gordhan and Ebrahim Patel.

  • Four allies to hold fourth quadrilateral meet. India, US, Japan, and Australia are set to meet for the fourth time and with the latest quadrilateral meet set to occur in Bangkok. India has said the quadrilateral meeting is a consultative process, not a military alliance.

    The issues for discussion during the last meeting were on expected lines centered on the Indo-Pacific. It means free passage for ships and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

  • US to end India's GSP trade program.
    President Donald Trump announced in March he would end India's access Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program over whatwas lack of access to India's market.

    The program allows emerging countries to export goods to the US without paying duties. The benefits could be restored if India gave U.S companies fair and equitable access to its markets.

  • China gave $628.4 million for the construction of two ongoing nuclear power plants known as K2 and K3 in the past 10 months.

    China also gave $1.4 billion in financing largely for projects that form part of the CPEC. Project loans have largely been disbursed for the Sukkur-Multan motorway, Havelian-Thakot project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) and the Lahore Orange Line project.

  • US President Donald Trump terminates preferential trade status for India under GSP.
    India’s access to preferential trade terms under the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was on its way out, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation ending the trade benefits effective June 5. However, benefits could possibly be reinstated subject to India and the U.S. reaching an agreement, according to a senior State Department official.

    “Mr. Trump’s proclamation have determined that India has not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets. Accordingly, it is appropriate to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country effective June 5, 2019.”

    The GSP is a programme that seeks to aid developing countries by giving some of their products non-reciprocal, duty free access to U.S. markets. In 2018, some $ 6.3 billion of Indian merchandise exports to the U.S. were covered by GSP, as per the Congressional Research Service. This represented 11% of all merchandise from India.

    India was the largest beneficiary of the programme, accounting for over one quarter of all the U.S.’s GSP-covered imports. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) began a review of India’s eligibility for GSP in April 2018. The U.S. medical devices and dairy industries had made representations on market access issues in India. Tariffs in the ICT sector had also become an irritant in ties.

  • World Milk Day is observed on 1 June.
    World Milk Day is a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food.

    It has been observed on June 1 each year since 2001. The day is intended to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities that are connected with the dairy sector.

  • Russia to pay 2.7 million euros in Greenpeace ship settlement.
    The Netherlands and Russia have settled a long-running dispute over the seizure of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship during an oil drilling protest in 2013, with Moscow expected to pay 2.7 million euros in compensation.

    The settlement was reached in Hague after talks between Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Earlier the Dutch had dragged Moscow to various courts following the incident.

    The Russian Federation and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have come to a full and final settlement of any and all mutual claims arising from the incident. Russian commandos seized the Dutch-flagged ship in September 2013 and detained 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists on board after a protest at an offshore oil rig owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom.

  • Jeffrey confirmed as US' next Deputy Attorney General.
    Jeffrey Rosen was confirmed as the United States' latest Deputy Attorney General by the US Senate. He has previously served at the Department of Transportation as the deputy secretary.

  • UAE to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity on May 21.
    On 21st May, the UAE will celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to highlight its efforts in promoting tolerance and cultural diversity.

    The event will coincide with the country’s declaration of 2019 as the Year for Tolerance and its hosting of many related events.

    The UAE has cultural relations with many countries and is an active member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO.

  • World Hypertension Day (WHD): 17th May. 

  • World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is observed on 17 May.

  • The Second International Day of Light was observed on 16 May.

  • The International Day of Living Together in Peace was observed on 16 May.  The theme of World Hypertension Day (WHD) 2019 is “Know Your Numbers”.

  • World Metrology Day: 20 May.
    World Metrology Day is observed every year on 20 May. It commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875.

    The theme for World Metrology Day 2019 is "The International System of Units - Fundamentally better."

  • PCT Humanity entered Guinness World Records.
    PCT Humanity, a charity run by an Indian, in the UAE has entered the Guinness Book of World Records. It got recognised for its hunger relief efforts during the holy month of Ramzan in Abu Dhabi.

    The charity set the new Guinness World Records for 'Longest Line of Hunger Relief Package' in Abu Dhabi.

  • US approved sales of missiles to Japan. 
    The U.S. State Department has cleared $314 million in possible sales of air defense missiles to South Korea. Also, the DSCA reported that separately, Japan was also cleared to buy $317 million worth of medium-range air-to-air missiles from Washington.

  • Sri Lanka marked 10 years to the civil war.
    Sri Lanka marked 10 years since the end of a decades-long civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead. The United Nations has urged Sri Lanka to investigate alleged war crimes committed by both sides.

    The Sri Lankan Civil War was an armed conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. It began on 23rd July 1983 and ended on 18 May 2009.

  • 8th Indo-Myanmar coordinated patrol.
    Myanmar Navy Ship UMS King TabinShweHtee (773) and UMS Inlay (OPV-54) arrived Port Blair on 20 May 2019. The 8th Indo-Myanmar coordinated patrol (IMCOR) is being organised at Andaman and Nicobar Command. The Myanmar delegation is led by Commodore Htein Win.

    The CORPAT initiative between the two navies is meant to address issues inimical to interest of both nations.

  • The US space agency has invited public to submit their names to fly abroad the next rover to Red Planet(Mars) in 2020.

    Souvenir boarding passes will display names submitted by the people which will also be on microchips aboard the Mars 2020 rover. The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.

  • Bangladesh stopped Visas for Pakistanis.
    The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad has stopped issuing visas to Pakistani nationals for one week. This is a mark of protest as a Bangladeshi diplomat's visa-extension application has not been cleared by the Pakistan government for the last four months. In 2018, Dhaka denied a visa to the Pakistan High Commissioner.

  • U.S. Navy ships conducted joint drills with warships from allies Japan, Australia and South Korea in their first combined exercise in the Western Pacific.

    The six-day exercise involves two Japanese destroyers, two Australian frigates and a destroyer from South Korea, with as many as 3,000 sailors participating.

  • China has delivered the first overhauled multi-role JF-17 fighter jet to Pakistan.
    This is a part of a project undertaken by the two countries over a decade ago for the development and manufacture of the aircraft. China and Pakistan had begun joint development and manufacture of the single-engine light JF-17 jets over a decade ago.

  • Mt Everest witnessed a traffic-jam like situation as over 200 mountaineers attempted to reach the summit point.

    Climbers from many countries reached above the Camp IV early morning and complained of waiting for more than two hours in queues. The government issued a record number of 381 climbing permits to the mountaineers representing 44 teams this spring season.

  • Volcano on Indonesia’s Bali erupts.
    An eruption of the Mount Agung volcano that spread ash over the south of the Indonesian island. The national disaster agency announced the eruption on 24 May, 2019 night lasted about four minutes and 30 seconds and spread lava and incandescent rocks about 3 kilometers from the crater.

  • World turtle day is observed on 23rd May. It is sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.

  • Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as South Africa's president.
    Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for a five-year term as South Africa’s President on 25 May, 2019. Head of the African National Congress Ramaphosa was officially elected as President by Parliament during its first sitting following the sixth general elections.

    Former president Jacob Zuma, resigned in February 2018 amid allegations of corruption. Ramaphosa is expected to announce his new Cabinet. The South Africa Constitution requires voters to choose a party, which then selects members to go to the National Assembly, where they choose the President.

  • US President Donald Trump reached Japan for a four-day visit.
    Japanese and US officials hail the relationship between Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as unprecedented. The visual highlight is likely to be Trump's visit tomorrow to the final day of the sumo tournament where he is expected to present the cup to the winner.

    President Trump will meet Japan's new Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne at the beginning of the month following his father's historic abdication for health reasons. The formal diplomatic part of the trip is limited to a short bilateral meeting the two leaders will brief.

  • Ireland has become only the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. It happened after the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) report on Climate Action was accepted by the government and opposition parties without a vote.

    The United Kingdom became the first country to declare the emergency on 1 May 2019.

  • A North Korean cargo ship seized by the U.S. because of suspicion it was used to violate international sanctions arrived on 11 May, 2019 at the capital of this American territory.

    The trip from Indonesia took about three weeks and American Samoa, in the South Pacific, was chosen because of “its central strategic location”. The ship was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia.

  • The US unveiled the 'Global Health Security Strategy'. The strategy is a first of its kind strategy to prevent, detect and respond to threats from infectious diseases occurring naturally or accidentally.

    Under the new Strategy, it will work to ensure that every partner country has a plan to achieve self-reliance in the critical area of health security.

  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will hold its 2020 high-level conference early June in Portugal’s Lisbon to support the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.

    The Conference will support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Lisbon.

  • WHO for eliminating industrial trans fats.
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has partnered with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA). Trans fat could be eliminated from the industrially produced global food supply by 2023 if the World Health Organization (WHO) has its way.

    Trans fat is also called the worst form of fat in food, responsible for over 5,00,000 deaths globally from coronary heart disease each year.

  • UN Global Road Safety Week was observed from 6 to 12 May 2019. It is celebrated every two years and highlights the need for strong leadership for road safety.
    The theme for 2019 is 'leadership for road safety'.

  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting of developing countries will begin in New Delhi on 13 May, 2019.

    The two-day meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rule-based-trading system is facing serious and grave challenges.

    The meeting will provide an opportunity for the Ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward. On 13 May, there will be a meeting of senior officers of the participating countries. On 14 May, 2019, the Ministerial Meeting will be held.

  • World Migratory Bird Day is observed every year on 11 May. The theme for this year's World Migratory Bird Day is ‘Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.’ The aim of the day is to highlight the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats.

  • Hinduja brothers named UK's wealthiest people.  The billionaire Hinduja brothers have been named as the wealthiest people in the UK for a third time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

    Sri and Gopi Hinduja saw their fortune increase by 1.356 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in the last year to 22 billion pounds. The Hinduja Group was founded in Mumbai in 1914.

  • US President to meet his Chinese counterpart amid escalating trade war.
    US President Donald Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit at Osaka in Japan next month (June) amid latest escalation in trade tensions between the two countries. Trump expressed hope that his meeting with Xi will be very fruitful.

    China increased tariffs on 60 billion dollars worth of American goods in a tit-for-tat to US move to raise tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports. After the near collapse of trade talks with China, US imposed punitive duties on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports, raising them to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

    China's retaliation came hours after the US President warned China not to impose retaliatory tariffs on American products.

  • International Nurses Day (IND) is an international day observed around the world on 12 May each year. It marks the contributions that nurses make to society. It was first observed in 1965.
    The theme for the year 2019 is Nurses: A voice to lead - Health for All.

  • Bill introduced to ban Chinese military scientists from American labs.
    In the US a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced identical resolutions in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States.

    The bill would require the US government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The lawmakers alleged that Chinese military scientists continue to research advanced dual-use technology in the US and other western countries.

  • Indonesian Coast Guard ship (BAKAMLA)‘Tanjung Datu’ arrived in Port Blair along with a high-level delegation led by First Admiral Eko Murwanto.

    The aim of this goodwill visit is to enhance bilateral cooperation between the Coast Guards of two countries. The ship ‘KN Tanjung Datu’ is a Patrol Vessel. The ship has a complement of 25 officers and 40 sailors.

  • UN mission urges cutting off financial ties with Myanmar army.
    A United Nations fact-finding mission called for financial isolation of Myanmar's military as part of efforts to hold the army accountable for human rights abuses. There has been no progress toward resolving the crisis over Myanmar's mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

    The situation is at a total standstill.Myanmar authorities have razed deserted Rohingya villages and members of the minority remaining in the country live in displacement camps and in fear of further military reprisals. The mission found that the military has committed atrocities against many ethnic groups living within Myanmar. It also faulted armed ethnic groups for committing human rights abuses.

    Myanmar denies allegations of human rights violations in Rakhine, its security forces have not targeted civilians and have taken action only in response to attacks by Rohingya militants. The Fact-Finding Mission is to hand over its findings to a new group of the Human Right Council, the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar, in September. That organisation was set up to handle criminal prosecution of violations of international law.

  • US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect American computer networks from foreign adversaries. Mr. Trump signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose a security risk to the country.

    Mr Trump does not name any company specifically in the order. However, analysts suggest it is mainly directed at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. A number of countries - including the US - have raised concerns that the company's products could be used by China for surveillance. Huawei work does not pose any threat. The US is also embroiled in an escalating trade war with China.

  • China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia.
    China has broadened its block of online encyclopedia Wikipedia to include all language editions. According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month (April, 2019). Previously, most editions of Wikipedia -- besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 -- were available.

    China's online censorship apparatus -- dubbed the 'Great Firewall' -- blocks a large number of foreign sites in the country, such as Google, Facebook and The New York Times. Topics that are deemed too sensitive are also scrubbed.

    In November, China had removed over nine thousand accounts on Chinese social media platforms like messaging app WeChat and the Twitter-like Weibo that it accused of spreading politically harmful information and rumours.

  • China’s President Xi Jinping debunked the “clash of civilisations” theory, and appealed for harmonious dialogue and coexistence between civilisations.

    Without naming the U.S., President Xi, in his address at the maiden conference on Asian Civilizations Dialogue, advocated equality, and rejected superiority of the U.S.-led West.

  • Aarohi Pandit has become the world’s first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). She completed the feat when she landed at Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13 May, having flown there from Wick in the UK.

    It also made Pandit the first female pilot in the world to successfully complete a solo flight across the Greenland ice cap in an LSA.

  • Jeffrey Rosen confirmed as US deputy attorney general.
    In the United States, the Senate has voted to confirm Jeffrey Rosen as deputy attorney general, the second-ranking official at the Justice Department. The vote was 52-45. He was a longtime litigator who served as deputy transportation secretary in the Trump administration.

  • Green cards replaced with 'Build America' visa.
    Donald Trump will replace the existing green cards with 'Build America' visa. The US President unveiled a new merit and points-based immigration policy that seeks to increase the quota for highly-skilled workers. Every year, the US issues nearly 1.1 million green cards, which gives foreign nationals life- time permission to live and work in US and a path to citizenship in 5 years.

  • International aid for education to India down by 26%.
    International aid to India for education has fallen by more than 26%, compared with a global downturn of 2%, data from United Nations showed. India received $464 million in 2017, as against $634 million in 2016.

    This is according to data compiled by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a global education aid monitoring report.

  • Saudi Arabia approved permanent residency gives permanent residency to certain expatriates.
    It will allow them to own real estate in the kingdom and reside with their families without a Saudi sponsor. The 'Privileged Iqama' system will offer a permanent residence scheme. It can be renewed annually to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.

  • United States has approved more than 600 million dollar in sales of air defense missiles to South Korea and Japan as tensions return with North Korea.
    The State Department had approved 94 SM-2 missiles used by ships against air threats, along with 12 guidance systems for a total cost of 313.9 million dollar. It separately gave the green light to sell 160 anti-air AMRAAM missiles and related guidance equipment to Japan for 317 million dollar.

    The sales will support the US foreign policy and national security objectives by assisting key allies and will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

  • World Bank gives $545 mn for cyclone-hit Southern Africa. The World Bank will extend more than half-a-billion dollars in grants for cyclone-ravaged southern African countries.

    A total of up to USD 545 million will be disbursed to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi - the three countries hit by Cyclone Idai in March. Cyclone Idai caused catastrophic damage earlier this year that affected millions of people.

  • King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Rama X of Thailand, was crowned on 4th May. King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, which has reigned since 1782. He ascended the throne over two years ago following his the death of his beloved father, but waited until after a long mourning period before setting his coronation date.

  • US Air Force General Tod D. Wolters has been sworn in as the top military officer of the 29-nation NATO military alliance.
    The former pilot, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, became Supreme Allied Commander Europe at a ceremony at NATO's military headquarters in Mons in southern Belgium. Wolters' term is likely to run two to three years.

  • Pakistan’s former captain and star all-rounder Shahid Afridi released his autobiography, titled ‘Game Changer’. The book is co-authored by Afridi and journalist Wajahat S Khan. Afridi stated that he was born in 1975 and not 1980 as stated in the official records.

  • Environment ministers of the G7 nations met in France, before the release of what is expected to be another alarming report on the state of the planet. Ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US gathered for the two-day meeting in the city of Metz.

    They were due to discuss measures to tackle deforestation, plastic pollution and the degradation of coral reefs.

  • US President Donald Trump bestowed Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour.

    Woods is only the fourth and the youngest golfer ever to have received the highest American civilian award. Mr. Trump praised Mr. Woods as one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports.

  • Iran is likely to announce on 08 May, 2019 that it is partially withdrawing from the nuclear deal it struck with world powers. The move comes a year after President Donald Trump pulled America from the accord. The terms of the withdrawal remain unclear.

    Iran's decision in letters to leaders of Britain, France and Germany that will be handed over to their ambassadors in Tehran. Iran has continued to comply with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Mali President named new government.  In Mali, the president has named a new government after its predecessor resigned in April 2019.

    President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced the new executive of 37 members under Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. He was appointed on April 22, 2019, to oversee the formation of a broad-based government.

  • World Red Cross Day, also known as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is observed every year on May 8. It is a gentle nod to all the volunteers who have made unparalleled contribution to people in duress or need.

    The 2019 theme is, ‘#Love’ and aims to broaden the public’s understanding of the society by highlighting the diversity and universality of its work and approach.

  • Singapore's parliament has passed a sweeping "anti-fake news" bill. It includes ability to demand corrections, order the removal of content, or block websites deemed to be propagating falsehoods contrary to the public interest. Penalties for not complying with orders include steep fines and jail time.

  • Japan is testing the world fastest-ever shinkansen bullet train, capable of speeds of as much as 400 kilometers (249 miles) per hour. Rail company JR East plans to operate it at 360 kilometers per hour. That would make it 10 kph faster than China’s Fuxing Hao, which links Beijing and Shanghai and has the same top speed.

  • The World Trade Organisation, WTO, ministerial meeting of developing countries will take place on 13-14 May, 2019 in New Delhi. The meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rule-based-trading system is facing serious and grave challenges. It will provide an opportunity to the Ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward.

    On the first day, there will be a meeting of senior officers of the participating countries. On the 2nd day, the Ministerial Meeting will be held. Sixteen developing countries and six Least Developed Countries are participating in the meeting.

    This meeting at New Delhi is an effort to bring together the developing countries and Least Developed Countries on a platform for sharing common concerns on various issues affecting the WTO and work together to address these issues.

    There have been increasing unilateral measures and counter measures by members, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body, which threaten the very existence of Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO and impacts the position of the WTO as an effective multilateral organisation. The current situation has given rise to demands from various quarters to reform the WTO.

  • The second edition of Belt and Road Forum (BRF) was held in Beijing, China from April 25th to April 27th, 2019.

    The theme of this event was 'Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future'.

    The Belt and Road Forum is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The idea of BRI was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

  • April 29 is celebrated as International Dance Day annually. It aims to bring people together with a common language - dance. In 1982, the Dance Committee of International Theatre Institute founded International Dance Day & theme for 2019 is “Dance and Spirituality”.

  • EPA Japan's new emperor, Naruhito, has formally ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne, replacing his father, Akihito, who had abdicated a day earlier. A new imperial era called Reiwa, which means order and harmony, has now begun. The emperor in Japan holds no political power but serves as a national symbol.

  • Lebanon's capital Beirut has set a new Guinness World Record for the number of national flagsraised in a city for 24 hours.

    The Beirut Alive Association, on 28 April, raised a total of 26,852 Lebanese flags breaking NewYork's Waterloo record of 25,599 flags. The event was organised under the patronage of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

  • US is withdrawing from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, in response to concerns from gun rights activists that it could impinge on Americans’ right to bear arms.

    Former US President Barack Obama signed the treaty in 2013 and sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification. The Trump administration has withdrawn from a number of international agreements including the Iran nuclear deal.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu was elected as the new PM of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu will seek to form a governing coalition in the days ahead. His Likud party won 35 seats in the election, the same as his main opponent from the centrist Blue and White alliance, led by former military chief Benny Gantz.

  • International Labour Day, also known as International Worker's Day or May Day is celebrated every year on 1 May. The day is celebrated to honour the contribution of working men and women.
    The theme of Labour Day 2019 is - Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement.

    In India, the first Labour day or May Day was celebrated in 1923 in Chennai.

  • London emerged as the top choice for Indian investors ahead of other cities such as Dubai and Singapore. The investments by Indian companies in the British capital reached an all-time high in 2018.

    The UK emerged as the top most country to attract Indian FDI with 52 projects, ahead of the US (51) and the UAE (32) in 2018.

  • Afghanistan peace summit ends in Kabul. A huge peace meeting aimed at finding an exit from Afghanistan's war concluded in Kabul on May 3, 2019.

    It saw about 3,200 religious and tribal leaders, politicians and representatives gather to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban. The meeting comes as the Taliban, who were not at these talks, are this week separately meeting in Doha with US peace envoy.

  • World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3 to inform the international community that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights.

    The main celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2019 is taking place in Addis Ababa, from 1 to 3 May 2019.

    The overall theme of this year's event is the role of media in elections and democracy.

  • China, Pakistan sign several MoUs in diverse sectors. 
    Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan met Pakistan President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and signed several Memorandums of Understanding, MoUs.

    These MoUs include cooperation in economic and technical affairs, Disaster Management and assistance in agriculture sector of Lasbella University. The Chinese leader reached Islamabad on a three-day official visit.



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